Grab vs Uber in Thailand

I have only ever used the Uber mobile app for the first time when I arrived here in Bangkok a week ago. I had Uber downloaded on my phone about a year ago but could only use GrabTaxi in my hometown.

Upon clearing immigration at the Don Mueang International Airport, I opened Maps to ask for directions from the airport to the place I was staying. Under Ride, UberX mainly comes up along with the fare information. I paid ฿300 for the 20-minute UberX ride. I didn’t even think of comparing the fare with the Grab mobile app as I was in a hurry to leave there. The fact that Uber was integrated within the Maps app is an advantage for Uber.

Seven days, 2 Grab rides and 7 UberX rides later, I can say I’ve mostly had a more pleasant experience with Grab than Uber. Don’t let the quantity fool you. I’d had to raise the issue to Support about being prompted to pay ฿300 again for that first UberX ride. As explained in their Help section, I was apparently overcharged because of a technical issue:

For compensation, we’ve added THB 300 Uber credit to your account to reflect the difference in the amount you paid and what the trip fare should have been. Please note this Uber credit will automatically apply to your next trip fare.
However, In order to make an adjustment for a cash fare, we need you to first settle this outstanding balance. Please note that you will be unable to request rides until this balance is paid.
To pay your account balance, please sign in to your account. You can use a payment method on your account to pay your balance before you request your next trip. Here’s how it works:
1. When you try to request a trip, your app will notify you that your account is in arrears.
2. You’ll be prompted to add a credit or debit card to your Uber account.
3. After you’ve added a card, you can select it as your payment method to pay your arrears in full.

It makes sense to use up my Uber credits than to use Grab more.

What I don’t like about the Uber mobile app, though, is the inability to change my cellular number on file. When I tried to change it, it prompted me to make another account which is totally unnecessary. I don’t know why it would not recognise my Thailand cellular number, even if it’s just a traveler’s sim card. With Grab, I could switch my number on file to the Thai number, despite the latter being a traveler’s sim. Just had to emphasize that.

I also notice way too many glitches with the Uber mobile app. This resulted in so many cancellations by Uber drivers. For a 10-minute walk back to the hotel, it would take me an hour or so to successfully get an Uber ride. I could walk the way back, if only I weren’t carrying some groceries.
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