Why does Grab's 'fixed fare' increase at destination?

I have been a beneficiary of ride-hailing services such as Uber and Grab.

While I agree that ride-hailing services have changed the way consumers behave, in order to stay ahead, these companies need to ensure that their fares are transparent and that customer service is adequate.

In the past few weeks, I have had very unpleasant experiences with GrabCar, especially in the area of fares.

Before you select "Book" on the app, it will tell you how much your fare will be. If demand is higher than supply, your fare will be adjusted accordingly. You will then proceed to click "Book", indicating that you accept the fixed fare.

Grab has said that it charges a "fixed fare", but sadly, that has not been the case for me.

After I was quoted a certain fare and clicked "Book", I found that the fare changed to a higher one, $2 to $3 more, when I reached my destination. This has happened to me three times.

While I can understand that fares are adjusted to suit supply and demand, fares should be stated upfront and not after the passenger has clicked "Book", only to find that the fare is higher upon reaching the destination.

Why is this so? Why is the fare displayed before a passenger books a ride not honoured?

I have sent three e-mail messages to Grab to ask for an explanation. However, what I received was a standard corporate response and a $3 discount.

What I want is an explanation, not a discount.

Agnes Thio (Ms)

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on September 27, 2016, with the headline 'Why does Grab's 'fixed fare' increase at destination?'. Print Edition | Subscribe