Grab Shuttle has been around for a while and is touted by Grab as a cheaper alternative to taxis, while at the same time, offering riders a guaranteed seat with lesser stops as compared to taking regular public transport.
Recently, I found out that there is a daily Grab Shuttle route which starts from my office (at Tanjong Pagar) and passes by my home (at Pasir Ris). The ride, which starts at 7:45pm, comes at a perfect timing for me since I typically only take a cab ride home (usually shared with at least one other colleague who lives nearby) if I am leaving the office after 9pm.
This ride gives me an in-between option for days when it’s too early to be taking a cab home, but when I do not want to squeeze in the MRT.
Booking A Grab Shuttle Ride
Booking a Grab Shuttle ride is pretty straightforward. Similar to a regular Grab booking, you input your (preferred) pick-up address and your (preferred) drop-off point and search for an available route.
I stress ‘preferred’ because what Grab Shuttle does is that it suggests available route(s) based on your input. Unlike Grab Car, these routes will not be precisely at where your preferred pick-up and drop-off points are (unless you are really lucky)so you will need to make your way to the pick-up point, and from your drop-off point.
For my input, it shows one route (G95).
You will need to select your pick-up and drop-off points.
This is one of the more interesting elements of Grab Shuttle. Similar to an express bus, there are predetermined stops which the Grab Shuttle ride would made.
Even though this was my first time booking the ride, logic suggests that the driver would only make stops at the necessary points if a rider has indicated that this would be his/her drop-off point.
My pick-up point was set at International Plaza which was the first pick-up point while my drop-off point was the second-to-last stop. Grab Shuttle indicated that this trip would take me 1 hour 4 minutes. It could have been shorter, had my pick-up point be one of the later stops or if my drop-off point was one of the earlier ones, but for this article, I think it’s great that I get to experience the entire ride.
One thing to note is that because both my home and office is near the MRT, my daily commute would usually take me about 50 minutes.
From a time-saving perspective, I think it makes more sense for those who live further away from the train station and who would need to take a feeder bus home from the MRT station.
Once you select your stops and which day you wish to book your ride for, you will be shown the price. For my trip, this costs $3.50, slightly higher than my usual fare of $2 for my MRT ride.
Grab Shuttle ride generally range from $3.50 to $5.00.
If this is the first time you are using Grab Shuttle, you will be asked to register. You will need your credit card details as well. Once you have paid for your ride, you will receive a booking confirmation.
You will be able to view your e-ticket. The e-ticket shows you your trip details such as the license plate for the bus. You will be able to track the real-time location of the vehicle, which helps tremendously if you are afraid of missing the vehicle when it arrives.
My First Grab Shuttle Ride Experience
Since this was the first time I was taking Grab Shuttle, there were a couple of questions running in my mind. Would I miss the bus, do I need to flag-down the bus when it comes? A couple of colleagues were expecting that I wouldn’t even get on to the bus.
Another question I had was just how many people would be on this ride? I was hoping that there will be lesser people so that we wouldn’t have to stop at every stop and that the ride will be quicker.
I reached my designated pick-up point at 7:40pm, 5 minutes before the pick-up time. It wasn’t difficult to find where the pick-up point would be. There were other passengers waiting there.
It’s important to not get on the wrong bus. I was excited when the first Grab Shuttle bus came along only to quickly realized that it wasn’t the bus I was supposed to get on. Remember, there is a good chance that the designated pick-up point that you are waiting at is also the pick-up point for other routes.
You can get real-time update of your bus location by viewing your e-ticket. It will show you where your bus currently is and the license plate number for the bus that you should be looking out for.
At 7:44pm, the Grab Shuttle vehicle arrived. There is no need to flag down the bus as the driver already knows how many people he is supposed to pick-up at each stop.
It was a small 13-seater bus, so I suspect this isn’t a popular route. Grab Shuttle also offers 23-seater and 40-seater buses which would be deployed if there were more passengers.
There were three passengers, including myself, who boarded the bus. At the next stop, another passenger boarded the bus. He was a spouse/friend of one of the first three passengers.
According to the route, there was a total of four stops in the CBD before the bus headed to the expressway. To my pleasant surprise, the bus did not stop at any of the remaining two stops in the CBD, which meant there were no passengers to pick up.
In total, there were only four passengers (including myself and a couple) who were on this Grab Shuttle ride. Not bad for a 13-seater mini-bus departing from the CBD. It was a quiet ride and a stark contrast to the large and noisy crowd I would have to deal with had I taken the train.
Because there were only four passengers, two of whom were a couple, we only had two stops to made once we reached the housing estates. I was the last passenger off the bus.
I alighted at 8:40pm, about 9 minutes earlier than what Grab Shuttle initially advised. I took 7 minutes to walk home, which is the exact same time I would have taken had I walked from the MRT station. Total time I took was 1hour 7minutes, inclusive of 5 minutes of waiting time.
Would I Take Grab Shuttle Again?
Though it took me about 10 to 15 minutes longer than my usual commute, it’s a different experience travelling home by a mini-bus, as compared to public transport. While you pay marginally more, the experience you get is closer to that of a GrabShare ride, rather than a ride on the public bus. It’s quiet ride and you get ample space on the bus, at least based on my first experience.
Because my home is near to the MRT station, I didn’t save any time taking Grab Shuttle as compared to the train. However, I observed many stops during the journey which were situated at housing estates where passengers would have needed a feeder bus from the MRT station in order to reach home. If your home is near once of these stops which require a feeder bus, Grab Shuttle may get you home quicker, and in a more comfortable manner.
Paying $3.50 for a semi-private mode of transport to get home from the office is pretty enticing to me. The only two downsides in my opinion is that you would 1) need to leave the office at a certain time to catch your Grab Shuttle ride and 2) if you are one of the first to be pick-up and last to alight, your trip (like mine) could take up to an hour.
However, if your pick-up is one of the later ones and/or your drop-off point is one of the earlier ones, and if your home is situated at a place which requires a feeder bus from the MRT to reach, then a Grab Shuttle ride would make a lot of sense to try out, assuming there is a route which is suitable for you.
If you like to try Grab Shuttle today, or if you want to check out if there are routes that can bring you to and fro your office each day, check out the Grab Shuttle website or download the Grab Shuttle app to find out more.
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