It’s a cutthroat world out there. So when you go out there, remember to get a knife. Because you never know when someone’s gonna cut your throat from the back. – Jack
Now Jack has never been one to make much sense, but I’ll have to go it to him on this one. He’s right. I mean…
Just look at the whole Ryde / Grab / Swiftback saga; they’re practically going at each others’ throats, and they are ride-hailing companies, for Lanata’s sake. Ride-hailing companies aren’t really supposed to go at each other, you know. I mean; they’re more of… a ride-hailing service, you know. Like, flag… a cab. You know.
But anyway, if you’ve yet to experience this whole saga for yourself, get ready.
For you’re about to enter the very cutthroat practice of the… ride-hailing industry.
1. Ryde points the finger
Carpooling service Ryde recently came out with a bit of shocking news, when it insinuated that 300 fake accounts have been made and 2,000 ‘phantom bookings’ were done, in the process hindering the revenue of Ryde drivers by some $50,000.
Full transcript (in case you’re missing your lao hua glasses):
“Ryde’s Statement On Drivers Being Hit by Fake Accounts and “Phantom” Bookings:
In mid-May, Ryde received a large number of feedback from drivers through email and social media platforms regarding fake rider accounts and “phantom” RydeX (private-hire) trip bookings. The cases have increased over the following 6 weeks, with close to 300 fake accounts and 2000 “phantom bookings” created. This has caused disruption to drivers and the resulting loss of income borne by them has exceeded $50,000.
After investigations, Ryde has found compelling digital evidence that point to IP addresses 18.104.22.168, 22.214.171.124 and 126.96.36.199 as the source of these accounts. Digital evidence indicates that a majority of these fake accounts and “phantom bookings” originated from locations in Midview City and The Herencia.
Such manipulations of the app have distressed affected drivers as their means of livelihood have been impacted. On top of causing drivers to lose money on fuel, these acts severely limit the drivers’ availability to take on more jobs as it sends them driving around in vain when they could have been picking up legitimate riders. As a ride-hailing platform, Ryde is taking all necessary actions to ensure that drivers who depend on the platform for income are not adversely affected.
Ryde has lodged a police report on June 26 against the attacks to bring such unlawful acts to light. Ryde has also notified the relevant authorities, the Competition and Consumer Commission of Singapore (CCCS), the National Private Hire Vehicles Association (NPHVA) and the Land Transport Authority (LTA).
As an interim measure, Ryde is conducting user audits to eliminate fake accounts and also informing drivers to report any incidents. Ryde will continue to closely monitor the situation and cooperate with authorities to put a stop to “phantom bookings”.
Lat and long of Midview City: 1.359195, 103.8338132 [Source: Ryde Database]
Lat and long of The Herencia: 1.2921164,103.8393476 [Source: Ryde Database]”
2. IP Grab – Grab Chun
In summary of the previous point…
- Ryde received a number of complaints from its drivers regarding phantom (fake) accounts and bookings.
- Causing an estimated loss in revenue of up to $50,000.
- Ryde does some CSI, uncovering several malignant IP addresses that point to an entity named Grabtaxi Pte Ltd.
- Ryde also unearthed the originating locations of the fake accounts (majority) and bookings: Midview City and The Herencia. Which happen to be the places GrabCar’s operating out of.
- This act has breached its rule number 7.
- It has lodged a police report (on 26 June) against the attacks.
- It has also notified the relevant authorities, including the Land Transport Authority (LTA).
At first glance, it’s hard to swallow. I mean, just think about it. Grab, the one that wiped Uber off the face of Singapore, resorting to such crude tricks?
Plus, there was a distinct lack of hard copy evidence, which doesn’t really make Ryde’s claims much more believable.
And luckily, it seems that I wasn’t the only one to think that way.
Although Ryde did have its fair share of beliebers- I mean believers.
So I guess it’s really a 50-50 scenario.
According to Mothership, Grab’s currently in the investigation process, so I guess we’ll have to wait things out…
4. In comes a new challenger
Or not, seeing how the fire nation has come in to challenge Ryde’s authority.
Introducing SwiftBack, a carpooling service that dissipated in 2016.
In a tip-off to Mothership, it was revealed that rather than being the victim, Ryde might’ve been the perpetrator in this case, just like two years back.
Transcript (in case you haven’t found your lao hua glasses):
“Eh RYDE, don’t play victim lah. You remember Swiftback? They received the same attack strategy coming from your IPs.
And your ridership numbers don’t fluff lah. You have ‘compelling’ evidence we also have ‘compelling’ evidence. This isn’t even a retaliation on behalf of Grab. Fuck them, we using Comfort.
Wanna know our hypothesis? You had people at Grab premises, – maybe people posing to apply for new Grab drivers – connect to their WIFI, then returned the next day near the location to create the fake accounts gradually. Or maybe it’s some kopitiam wifi. Either way, not very difficult.”
Let me break it down to you in the next point, with a little help from Mothership.
5. The Alleged Four Phantoms
While the Kanto region has the Elite Four, Singapore has its own Phantom Four.
Although rather than being honorary champions, the Phantom Four comes off more as a sub-unit in Team Rocket.
Lest you’re unaware, the Phantom Four consists of:
1. Tania Gong
2. Derrick Goh
3. Amanda Poon
4. Tiffany Soh
And according to Swiftback, they were phantom accounts created by none other than Ryde, to sabotage their services.
But don’t just take them at word value, because they supposedly got the evidence to back it up.
For starters, these four accounts all stem from a single location:
Which so coincidentally relates to…
And just to double confirm, their IP addresses are exactly the same.
6. Chat logs
Kim Kardashian might have some questionable tapes, but the Phantom Four isn’t about to lose, seeing how they boast chat logs.
“Tania Gong”, in particular, seems very partial in regards to Ryde services and did not hesitate to make her views known.
“Very laggy, ryde is better.”
“And slow, ryde still better.”
If I didn’t know better, I would’ve thought she’s working for Ryde.
And then we have “Derrick”, the phantom who excels at what he does:
Also, we have “Tiffany Soh”, who exclaimed in not so subtle tones about how Swiftback just sucks.
“Sorry this is lousy service”
“I won’t support this app and its ethics”
If I didn’t know better I would have thought that Tiffany’s a peace warrior.
7. Swiftback then Closed Down
Incidentally, Swiftback closed down in December 2016 and subsequently advised its drivers to move onto GrabHitch. This does not mean that Swiftback merged with Grab, however.
8. What goes around, comes around
If Ryde’s allegations were true, and Swiftback’s were too, it would mean that…
The cycle of life has come full circle.
Which is definitely interesting, although really…
I doubt it would appeal in the same way to Ryde.
However, do note that all these are just mere accusations: one person’s words against another, but done in a way that’ll make a GP teacher proud: a point, a explanation, an evidence and a link.
You know, PEEL.
Wonder what’s going to peel next.
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