Carpooling has been on the rise recently, with many parties promoting the various benefits you can get from sharing a ride than congesting the roads with multiple cars. Recently, GrabShare launched in Malaysia, and if it really does become popular, it might do its bit to reduce the notorious traffic our country is known for.
Since its launch, though many have expressed their approval of this new feature from Grab, there have been some who are hesitant.
In fact, at our own office, we have quite a few who are frequent ride-share users who have said they weren’t interested in the new service at all.
This got us thinking about if there were any others out there who might have the same reluctance.
We gathered 15 responses from Malaysians who are ride-sharing veterans to find out the why they’re not completely on board with the new GrabShare service. To choose the respondents, we ensured that they A) use ride-sharing as a main mode of transport and B) they frequently use more than one service and don’t just stick to one app, and C) they use ride-sharing services at least 5 times a week.
Just to keep the terminology straight, we refer to the conventional Uber and Grab services as ride-sharing, whereas the new services like GrabShare will be referred to as carpooling services.
Introverts at hearts would relate to this. We cling on to those moments of peace and quiet that we get in a day to just leave ourselves to our thoughts and have some “me” time. But with carpooling services, many of users fear the unspoken but accepted social obligation of striking up a conversation.
One commented that she wouldn’t mind talking to the driver during her trips but it becomes a hassle when it becomes compulsory, particularly if there are other riders with you.
Another user shared an occasion when she was in an uberPOOL car with her cousin in Singapore. They naturally started a conversation but she realised it felt as if she were deliberately excluding the driver and the other passenger. She felt uncomfortable keeping up a conversation, and the rest of the ride descended into a heavy silence.
She added on that she’d rather split the price with someone else for a full price ride share rather than have to forcefully include someone in a conversation or be the singular passenger debating on whether to join the conversation or stay quiet.
With most carpooling services, you can’t really determine the route a driver takes. It’s usually chosen based on who’s the nearest and who’s the furthest. You may be the first person in the car but you’d probably be the last person dropped off if your destination is the furthest among the other passengers.
This was what deterred away 5 users we interviewed who cited this as the main reason.
“I understand this is not ideal for someone with a time-crunch. If you had the luxury of time, then it’s fine. But I mainly use ride-sharing services for work so I see no reason for me to go for this and risk arriving at work late just because I needed to drop off others before me,” said a user.
Another user said that he would rather not use this due to the fact that his journey could potentially be delayed.
“Once my journey ended up taking longer because one of the passengers couldn’t find her drop off point properly and the driver had to keep making circles just to make she reached her destination correctly. I find that as a nuisance so I’d rather not take that risk anymore,” said another user.
A downside to carpooling services is there are no proper screenings done beforehand. You can’t really pick the passengers you hitch a ride with after all.
“There was once when I used a carpooling app and ended up being in the same car with someone who didn’t care about personal space. He had a lot of luggage and ended up crowding my space with the items he carried. He just shoved his bag on various spaces in the car which limited my leg room. Even when I told him to put his bag aside, he didn’t care,” said a user.
Another one is concerning safety. We understand that sometimes these can’t be controlled but there have been instances when ride-sharing users felt their safety was at risk due to the types of people that ended up hitching a ride with them.
“I was on the way back from a club and we ended up being in the same car with someone who didn’t appear too drunk. He was quite chatty and obnoxiously flirty so we didn’t think it would be a problem. Before he left though, he had the nerve to grope my thigh with an insolent slur,” said a user we polled.
We should note that of all the respondents, none were worried about the driver’s behaviour, just the other riders who might be sharing the trip with them.
Some of the users shared that it’s best to not create opportunities for awkward scenarios to happen.
“There was once I got trapped with this couple who clearly were in the middle of an argument and although they were speaking in a different language, it was quite obvious that they were fighting. Things got tense in the car and I could see that my driver understood what was going on as he was trying to control his expression. I was grateful I managed to be the first to be dropped off and avoided that awkward scene,” said a user.
“I just don’t like confrontation and I wouldn’t want to expose myself to be in a situation where I get caught up in it,” said another user.
At the end of the day, it seems to be about a balance of your personality, finances and past experiences. Many extroverts who enjoy the idea of meeting new people and saving money in the bargain would be happy to use carpooling services. For the rest, it appears that the monetary saving just isn’t enough to get them to be part of it.
Have you tried out GrabShare or other carpooling services? Let us know your experience in the comments below.
Feature Image Credit: Carpool Karaoke with James Corden