RYDE – A Singapore Carpooling App

RYDE - Car Pooling App
RYDE – Car Pooling App
I’m in the mood for OTT transport services lately. I tried UberX for the first time in Penang and ended up using it for the entire trip. I used UberX again at Changi Airport because I get cab drivers with attitude every time they learned that it’s a short trip.

Carrying on with the mood, I tried this car pooling app called RYDE. Let talk about the experience before what I think about the app and how they operate.

I made an advance arrangement to my workplace the night before the trip. Frankly, I was trying my luck. I was thinking of simply checking out the app. I was quite surprised when I got a match within minutes.

My RYDE Match - Address masked for privacy
My RYDE Match – Address masked for privacy
My RYDE match (I prefer not to call him my driver) was this gentlemen called Louis. He has 52 reviews. Most of the users gave him very high ratings except for a odd few. The app suggests that we message or call each other to follow up. I didn’t do so because it was already 11+ at night. I thought I would message him the next morning half an hour before the trip, in case I get played out. Lol!

Anyway, Louis messaged me first the next morning. He told me he would be arriving early so I proceeded to wait for him at the agreed pickup point. Turns out he just lives 1 street away from me. Upon arrival, Louis told me I could take the back seat. I took the front seat instead. We struck up a conservation very quickly. This is something I like about this carpooling and even UberX because the drivers are amateurs and has another life besides driving. And because of so, there are a lot of adhoc things we can talk about. There was a jam that morning because of the terrible weather so trip took longer than expected but I still got to my destination on time. On reaching, the payment was in cash based on a predetermined rate by the app. Overall, very pleasant trip. Of course I have a 5 star rating to Louis.

Now onto the app and their model.

1. Cash payment. I would rather it’s credit card payment. This is car pooling so there might be a chance that both party do not have smaller change. Credit card payment would definitely be preferred.

2. Prepaid credits for each successful match. I don’t like this idea. It feels like a way to trap my money inside their system. I read that some people using GrabHitch can’t get matches for their destination despite trying numerous times. Same thing could happen here so the prepaid credit is trapped. They should just do away with this prepaid thing and coupled with credit card payment, take a small fee from the payment.

Overall, I like the car pooling idea. It’s not something new but it has never been so accessible. Beside RYDE, there’s SwiftBack, UberPool, GrabHitch. The only problem is whether I can get a match. I tried GrabHitch and I didn’t get a match, so I was really lucky on my first try with RYDE. Cost is way cheaper than taking a cab but of course expectations has to be right. This is car pooling and not a cab service, so there’s no exclusivity.  In my case, Louis’ sister was travelling together. I was perfectly fine with it when Louis asked if it was alright. And don’t expect the driver kind of service like cabs. Take it as sharing a friend’s fuel cost and enjoy the ride.

Pop-up ATM For Drawing New Notes – By DBS

I read from the papers that DBS has deployed pop-up ATMs this year for the drawing of new notes. The idea is to ease the queue and also serve folks who do not have time to queue at the bank during the operating hours. Some of these machines operate 24 hours. The locations and operating hours can be found here.

I thought this was a brilliant idea. I hate queuing for one, and one of the locations is just 5 mins walk from office.

Pop-up ATM for drawing new notes! No queue but need to do a few times. :) #brilliantidea

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And this is it, the pop up ATM. This is at Kreta Ayer Community Club. There are 3 machines deployed. The best part about it is that there’s no queue. I was expecting people to be queuing, judging from the queues at the bank. Maybe the awareness isn’t there yet. DBS also has a staff on-site to explain to people on the usage and give ang bao and chocolate. :)

DBS Ang Bao and Chocolate!
DBS Ang Bao and Chocolate!

A little suggestion here for DBS. Due to the pre-determined combination, I had to perform 4 transactions to get the amount of notes I want. This could be a bit challenging if there is a queue behind me. I hope DBS can analyse the pattern for this year and come out with more / better combinations. Take for instance, the $1,000 pack. It’s 16 pieces of 50, $20 pieces of $10. This combination would be better if they added in $2 as well. Or there could be a $1,200 or $1,500 option with all the various notes in.

Anyway, this is a great idea. Kudos to DBS. I do hope that they conclude this trial as a success and continue doing this next year. :)

Customer Service Done Right

I bought a Pencil from FiftyThree about 3 months ago. I was impressed by the online demos and the product didn’t disappoint me when I got it eventually. In fact, I can’t imagine using another stylus that’s ‘non intelligent’.

Unfortunately, something came off one day when I was taking the tip to charge the Pencil.

Faulty Pencil
Faulty Pencil

I was very upset because I like using the Pencil for my sketches and note taking and therefore would want to get it replaced ASAP.

I wrote to the customer service folks with the picture above and asked if I could RMA this or even repair it myself so that I could be using the Pencil again very soon. I wasn’t very optimistic actually. We know the usual RMA procedure. Fill the forms, arrange for return. Bear the return shipping etc. And it’s more painful for me since I’m in Singapore and RMA’s in the USA. Sometimes, the effort makes it easier to just order a new piece of the product.

The first email came back telling me RMA was possible and they needed my proof of purchase and serial number. Standard protocols. The next email was to ask for my return address in Singapore. I was expecting them to ask me to arrange for return of the faulty product at this point and this was the email that I got eventually.

Fantastic Reply From Fifty Three
Fantastic Reply From Fifty Three

Totally cool! This is the kind of reply that customers like to see. Throughout the whole exchange, nobody asked why it’s broken or how it’s broken.  They clearly understood the problem international customers generally have on returns and they made the issue less complicated or rather, disappear totally.

Well, some folks might say that this is expected for the price I paid for a stylus. Yes, I agree. The thing now is, how many businesses out there are willing to provide such service even when a premium is paid. From my past experience, only Apple had this level of service. Now FiftyThree’s on this list.

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