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Grab rolls out motorbike service in capital

A woman selects a destination in Phnom Penh using the Grab app on her phone last year. Post staff
A woman selects a destination in Phnom Penh using the Grab app on her phone last year. Post staff

Grab rolls out motorbike service in capital

Singapore-based ride hailing app Grab has added motorbike taxis to its inventory in Phnom Penh, becoming the first app of its kind to offer the popular motodop service.

“We’ve seen a lot of people in Phnom Penh using motodops, and we thought we could help the drivers by letting them use the app to find customers,” said Wee Tang Yee, Grab’s country head for Cambodia and Thailand. “With traffic here, too, motorbikes seem a lot more useful [than tuk-tuks or cars] if you want to get somewhere quickly.”

For now, GrabBike is only in beta and the service was launched exclusively in some central parts of the capital. Yee said the company had signed up about 100 motorbike drivers, all of whom had attended a safety and training session in addition to providing ownership documents and a valid driver’s licence.

Hailed yesterday, Yoeun Ratana, one of Grab’s new drivers, showed up on his personal motorbike, sporting a Captain America shield emblazoned across the front. Ratana has a full-time job as a technical assistant, but he signed up with Grab about a week ago to make extra cash.

“It’s really easy to use the [Grab] app, and it only took me a day to train to be a driver,” he said. But while the second source of income was nice, Ratana said the money from driving was nowhere near enough to let him quit his day job.

The base rate for GrabBike drivers in Phnom Penh is currently set at 2,500 riel, or $0.63, for the first kilometre, with customers charged an additional 1,000 riel, or $0.25, per kilometre after that. That rate was subject to change after the beta test, according to Yee, who also said he wasn’t sure when the beta would end or when the full service would launch.

Grab’s motorbike rates are slightly lower than the rates for auto-rickshaws from local ride-hailing apps such as PassaApp and Exnet, though those services’ vehicles are capable of seating at least two people.

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