Last month, Singapore ride-hailing company Ryde lodged a police report regarding the creation of close to 300 fake accounts and 2,000 “phantom” RydeX trip bookings on its platform, which resulted in a S$50,000 loss.
What’s even more appalling is that the firm found “compelling digital evidence” that point to IP addresses with locations in Midview City and The Herencia.
Two Grab Driver Centres are located at these two areas, and one IP addresses is even confirmed to be registered under Grabtaxi Pte Ltd.
In response to this news, a Grab spokesperson told Vulcan Post that “Grab is investigating the matter”.
Fast forward a month later, there still has been no updates from them and today, another similar Grab fiasco was reported.
15,000 Phantom Bookings on Micab
This time round, the victim is Philippines-based ride-hailing company Micab.
Micab CEO and co-founder Eddie Ybañez has contributed an article on e27, sharing that its internal investigation points to Micab’s rival, Grab.
Our taxi-hailing platform, Micab, which competes directly with Grab’s GrabTaxi and indirectly with their private car hailing services, has also been hit with a firestorm of phantom bookings, albeit with a slightly different modus operandi.
“After booking one of our cabs, then waiting as usual before canceling, our drivers will receive a call a few minutes later inviting them to a driver’s orientation for Grab,” he wrote.
“If this occured one or two times, you could easily dismiss it to coincidence — perhaps Grab obtained the driver’s number through some under means — but’s happened several thousand times. The prepaid numbers that call our drivers are also sequential, suggesting they were purchased by a single entity at one time.”
“Grab believes it’s fair business practice to create dummy accounts, lure drivers to locations where no passenger will ever come, waste their time and money, and even jeopardize their safety as they idle at pick-up points, all in the name of competition.”
Drivers Now Wary To Accept Bookings
Due to these slew of phantom bookings, Micab drivers are now hesitant to accept passengers from their platform.
“Our taxi drivers now become wary to pick up passengers for fear of traveling all the way to get cancelled on, which contributes greatly to real passengers having a hard time booking because of the lack of supply. Passengers are stuck and frustrated, [and] drivers are skeptic and disappointed,” he wrote separately on his Facebook post.
Micab has since shared their phantom booking findings to Ryde as it believes that these two incidents suggest a “company-wide practice in action.”
“If proven true (in addition to our investigation, we are submitting our findings to relevant authorities.”
He also urged players in the ride-hailing scene to “play fair” and “be mindful of the consequences … on a macro scale.”
Featured Image Credit: Top Gear Philippines / Eddie Ybanez’s Facebook post