Pet owners, rejoice — you’ll finally be able to (legitimately) use Grab to bring your pets around.
Launched on Wednesday, Feb. 20, 2019, the beta release of GrabPet not only comes with drivers who are specially trained to handle pets, but also insurance for the animals the service carries.
Its starting fare looks steep — S$14 — but the price tag, to be fair, comes with additional features.
GrabPet vehicles have foldable waterproof backseat covers and adjustable leashes for suitable pets, and are additionally kitted with towels and air fresheners to ensure they are clean and well-maintained for both animal and human passengers.
Just like Grab's regular car services, GrabPet will also be available round the clock and on demand, subject to driver availability.
Interested drivers have been undergoing mandatory training to prepare them for different scenarios that may arise while transporting pets.
Here's a quick rundown of what to expect:
How does it work?
Much like UberPet, if you recall — simply choose the GrabPet option and put your pick-up and drop-off points like you would order a normal car ride.
What kinds of animals can I carry on GrabPet?
All household pets that are approved by the Agri-Food & Veterinary Authority of Singapore (AVA), with the exception of birds, can be transported via GrabPet.
Why not birds?
According to a release from Grab, it's because air fresheners used in the vehicles may pose risks to them.
Here's a table showing some common pets and how they should be transported:
Can I bring my 5 cats, 3 dogs, 2 rabbits and 4 chinchillas on board?
In short, probably not.
The number of pets allowed on GrabPet depends on the size of each animal. As a general rule, GrabPet accepts a maximum of two medium-sized pets (of up to 41cm in height) or one large pet (41cm in height or more) per ride.
Of course, pets must also be accompanied and handled by their owners.
Why do fares start so high?
Fares for GrabPet will start at S$14 — which appears comparable to alternatives like RydePet, depending on distance and when you're booking a ride — but the service isn't half bad.
To prepare for different scenarios that may arise while transporting pets, Grab requires its driver-partners to undergo mandatory training before they can be GrabPet-registered.
Conducted by Patrick Wong, an experienced professional dog trainer, the training sessions include tips on spotting aggressive behaviour, safety procedures when pets board and dismount, and regulations regarding the transportation of animals in vehicles.
GrabPet drivers are also supplied with a special waterproof seat cover, which can be easily assembled in under a minute. Also included are a microfibre cleaning cloth and air fresheners.
Looking at RydePet, its fares are listed as being up to 25 per cent higher than its normal carpool and ride-hailing car fare. It is too early to tell right now if GrabPet will be more expensive than RydePet, as it will certainly depend on distance travelled.
That being said, both are likely to still be more wallet-friendly than a professional pet taxi trip, which can cost anywhere from S$25 to upwards of S$40.
That being said, trained as GrabPet drivers may be, this does not mean GrabPet drivers are certified pet handlers. Their responsibility as a driver is to get passenger and pet safely from pickup to destination.
And yours, as a pet owner, is to manage your pet. That includes loading and unloading your pet from the car.
[video width="2560" height="1428" mp4="https://static.mothership.sg/1/2019/02/grabpets1.mp4"][/video]
Setting up the GrabPet seat cover. (Video: Kayla Wong)
[video width="2560" height="1428" mp4="https://static.mothership.sg/1/2019/02/grabpets2.mp4"][/video]
Placing a pet in the seat cover and attaching the safety strap. (Video: Kayla Wong)
Will my pets be insured riding on Grab?
Certainly, an important thing on pet owners’ minds is insurance coverage. No one wants to be left with a hefty vet bill in the wake of an unfortunate accident.
In the case of GrabPet, personal accident insurance coverage, which is currently free for all passengers travelling via Grab’s transport services, will also be extended to your non-human ride companions.
As part of its launch, GrabPet users can enjoy S$3 off the service with the promo code "LOVEPETS" — on top of that, in this first month of its service, Grab will donate S$3 collected from each GrabPet ride to the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA).
Top photo by Kayla Wong
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