BlueSG users face ‘ghost vehicles’, difficulty ending rentals days after firm apologises


Mr Jacob Bong, 29, who works in the entertainment industry, relies on the car-sharing service to shorten the two-hour commute from his Sembawang home to his Sentosa workplace.

However, on Dec 21, he realised that he was overcharged S$50 for his drive, which reflected a total rental of 67 minutes despite him using the service for only 32 minutes. 

As this “occasionally occurs”, Mr Bong said that he called the customer service hotline to end the rental service but did not reach a resolution over the calls, the messages over the BlueSG live chat and by email. 

Another user, 25-year-old student Nicholas Chong, arrived at Plaza Singapura mall to find the car that he had booked was not there.

Instead, there were four BlueSG cars parked in the designated parking spaces, with two more taking up normal parking lots since other users’ reserved parking spots were occupied.

None of the cars matched his reservation, so he resorted to taking a ride with ride-hailing service Grab after failing to start a BlueSG car for 10 minutes, for which he was charged S$34. He was given a refund two days later after filling out an incident form.

Mr Shahir Ismail, who has been a BlueSG member for three years, said that service disruptions are “not new” and most have been previously resolved within a few hours. 

“This disruption, however, is the worst ever and completely changed my opinion of BlueSG as a reliable service,” the 28-year-old assistant engineer said. 

In message groups with other BlueSG users, Mr Shahir has seen other reports of “ghost vehicles” on the app, where users reserve an available car but the vehicle is not there.

“Because of this disruption, even when the stations have BlueSG vehicles present, it is unavailable on the app. I believe this is because of those users who could not successfully end rentals,” Mr Shahir said.

He himself could not park his rental vehicle at his reserved lot on Dec 19 because he found another vehicle already parked there. 

He was unable to reach a customer service officer through multiple calls and was automatically redirected to voicemail after 10 minutes. 

He resolved the problem on his own after another user drove off with a new rental vehicle, allowing him to park. So far, he has been unable to receive compensation for the extra time and parking charges incurred.  

Mr Eugene Khaw, 39, a marketing communications consultant, was unable to end his rental due to the breakdown at the charging stations and he could not reach a customer service officer after waiting for more than 35 minutes on the call.

He added that waiting times while using BlueSG’s hotline had recently increased from five to 10 minutes on average to more than 30 minutes a call, or not even getting a response. 

Even though one has to be “mentally prepared for disruptions”, Mr Khaw said that these disruptions leave a “bad taste in mouths” and new BlueSG features such as ending the rental on the app still have “teething problems” because some reservations continue after being ended on the app. 

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