Barely two days after ride-hailing application Ryde alleged that they were hit by 2000 “phantom bookings” and 300 fake accounts from IP addresses linked to ‘Grabtaxi Pte Ltd’ over the past six weeks, allegations have surfaced that Ryde possibly pulled the same stunt against a fellow ride-sharing app two years ago and ran them out of business.
According to popular Facebook page, SMRT Feedback by The Vigilanteh, ride-sharing app Swiftback went defunct after IP addresses linked to ‘Ryde Technologies Pte Ltd’ swamped the app with a flurry of phantom bookings in 2016. Swiftback ceased operations later that year, in December 2016.
Warning Ryde not to “play victim” and not to “fluff up” their ridership numbers, the administrators of the page clarified that they are not Grab users before alleging that the latest attacks that Ryde claims it faces are engineered by itself to cast aspersions on the competition:
“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.”
Ryde quickly rose to the upper echelons of the ride-hailing service sector after industry giant Uber Singapore became absorbed by its biggest competitor Grab.
On Thursday, Ryde claimed that it has been battling 300 fake accounts and 2000 “phantom” RydeX (private-hire) trip bookings since mid-May and that its drivers have incurred a loss of over S$50,000 in income due to the fake bookings.
In a statement on Facebook, Ryde said that digital evidence uncovered in internal investigations found that the IP addresses used to make the fake accounts and phantom bookings originate from Midview City and The Herencia – the two locations where Grab is headquartered.
Noting that it “does not condone such acts of misrepresentation that threaten the livelihood of drivers,” Ryde revealed that it has lodged a police complaint over the matter, besides notifying the Competition and Consumer Commission of Singapore, the National Private Hire Vehicles Association and the Land Transport Authority.
Meanwhile, a Grab spokesman told The Independent that, “Grab is currently investigating the matter” and declined to make further comment at the present time.
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