Go-Viet, a new riding sharing service (like Uber and Grab) opened up in recent months in Vietnam and I’ve spent some time road testing it.
How does it work?
In most respects, the Go Viet service is similar to Grab. To use the app, you sign up with an email account, and a local telephone number. Like Grab, booking a ride is easy. You simply select your service (motorcycle ride or parcel delivery), type in your destination (or navigate to it on the map), and click book. There’s also in-app messaging, so you can easily contact the driver without making or receiving a call.
In terms of the quality of the ride experience, for me, it has been essentially the same as Grab’s. I’ve had both good and bad experiences with both services.
With the number of drivers that Grab offers, maintaining a consistent service quality is difficult. I’ve had many bad experiences with Grab drivers, although I don’t expect that Go-Viet would be different in that respect. Using apps of this nature (which rely upon sourcing amateur drivers), unfortunately, bad experiences are simply part of the deal.
What is the difference between Go-Viet and Grab?
Go Viet and Grab service offerings differ in several different ways.
First, Go-Viet’s service is more limited than Grab. Using Go-Viet, you can’t order a car, a taxi, buy food, or rent a car by the hour. You also can’t walk up to a Go-Viet driver on the street and book a ride directly with them, as you can with Grab.
Next, Go-Viet’s app isn’t as full-featured, for example, there are no favourite pickup/drop-off destinations. Importantly, there is no option to contact support in English. While the Go-Viet app is offered in English, the website is not. If you have a problem, I’m not sure what you’d do, other than to have a local resident call support for you. So, if you have a problem, (including if you were in an accident)… you now have another problem! I think this is a fairly big shortcoming of Go-Viet’s service. (I’ve had reason to contact Grab’s customer support many times. If I had a problem using Go-Viet, I suspect I’d just forfeit the fare.) By contrast, Grab has English speaking support, in-app methods of contacting support in English, and an in-app ‘Emergency’ feature to either contact support or pre-selected emergency contacts.
Another difference between the two apps is payment. Payment for your ride using Go-Viet is only by cash. Grab offers payment by credit card or credits you have pre-purchased. When using Grab, it means you don’t have to mess around with carrying a lot of small notes, and/or spend time exchanging money at the end of the ride. Grab also has a loyalty program. Using Grab, you can redeem points that you’ve earned from your trips on discounted rides or other goods and services from partners, like discounts on meals.
Then there’s the service reach. While there are a lot of drivers now working for Go-Viet, there aren’t as many as with Grab. In the downtown areas of a city like Ho Chi Minh City, you aren’t going to wait very long for a ride. You can often get one as quick, or quicker than a Grab. In many of the outer districts, however, the service either doesn’t operate, or there are few drivers. Over time, this will likely change. In fact, I’ve seen one or two Go-Viet drivers in smaller towns. They company doesn’t seem to have a phased roll-out in larger towns first, as did Grab.
Why use Go Viet?
Pricing would have to be the main reason to use Go Viet.
Sometimes rides using Go-Viet are priced cheaper than Grab. Other times, Go-Viet is more expensive. Both services offer regular discount coupons, which may make one service cheaper than the other at any given time.
Other than that, there doesn’t seem to be any factor which differentiates Go-Viet from Grab.
The drivers are essentially the same, and I couldn’t say that the training of the drivers of one company is better than the other. Because Grab operates in many countries and has deeper pockets, you’re likely to see Grab develop and extend its offerings more consistently than Go-Viet. That is, the Grab service offering is always likely to be more full-featured. You can also use Grab in other countries in Asia. This means that you can use one app as you travel around Asia.
In summary, Go Viet offers a budget, no-frills ride service that is similar to that offered by Grab. While the service itself isn’t as extensive or foreigner-friendly as its competitor, Grab, particularly in the main cities of Vietnam, it offers an inexpensive, and convenient way to get around.
Update: a new ride sharing app in Vietnam is gaining traction, called Be. You might notice drivers around town wearing the yellow shirts with blue stripes. Their app is entirely in Vietnamese, but it works like their competitors. If you need to figure out the app menus, take screenshots and use my guide to translating a foreign language menu on your smartphone to translate them. There are enough drivers that you won’t have to wait long for a ride, and the competition will keep prices competitive between services. Here’s the link to the Android and Apple app for Be.
You can read my review of Grab Bike and Grab Car here (along with a coupon code for a free ride). If you’re traveling to Vietnam, here’s my guide on how to buy a prepaid 3G or 4G SIM card in Vietnam. Also, here’s how to save money on hotels and accommodation in Vietnam using the hidden rate many hotels offer, and another article on the hotels (Nha Nghi) in Vietnam that you never noticed, but are all around you!