Grab: What are you going to do about the welfare of your drivers?

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It has been a while, with Grab coasting through majority market share (read: veiled-monopoly) in the ride-hailing industry.

Other ride-hailing firms in local markets such as Ryde and Jugnoo do not seem to have sure footing in the industry yet, seeing as how the competition’ has only been here for half-a-month, so Grab is all Singapore has for now.

Being the main player (and largest player), Grab is obliged to ensure that the needs of their drivers, in terms of welfare, are met. Yet, drivers are very unhappy and have even taken to creating Facebook groups and polls to bring the issue to Grab’s and the Land Transport Authority’s (LTA) attention.

The Facebook group, ‘Singapore Private Hire Car Drivers & Riders Community’ conducted a poll last Saturday. They asked drivers, “Grab drivers, are you contended with the fares which you are earning from trips currently? Do you find the fares ridiculously lower than usual or do you find it reasonable? Do share your views.”

Out of the 988 votes, 92% said that fares are ridiculous, and only 8% felt that they were reasonable. Many have griped about the fare difference in GrabShare and GrabHitch, citing that the rates of the former are a lot lower than the latter. This is especially so when drivers do not see a match for GrabShare rides, and end up having to just ferry a single rider to a destination for a much lower fare.

We spoke to a few Grab drivers about their pay structures and incentives.

Francis Tan, a 40-year old driver, told us about the incentives that Grab offered its drivers. On average, Tan is on the road for six to eight hours a day.

According to him, many of the incentives listed were either “just for show”, or unattainable and requiring the driver to drive for an unreasonable long period of time.

He was asked what the incentives are, as they are just listed on the app as ‘Lump Sum’, he said, “Haven’t end so unknown. Nothing stated yet because it’s still in progress”, referring to the stipulated period drivers have to earn their incentives.

Does this mean that Grab expects drivers to work for incentives without actually telling the drivers how much these incentives are, or at least how they are structured, until the specified period is over?

Another 35-year old Grab driver, who does this on a part-time basis, said that after Uber, the incentives kept dropping rapidly.

Both he and Tan agree that the average Grab driver’s salary alone, without incentives, is not enough to sustain a family and pay for rental and petrol.

Another Facebook group called ‘Sg Uber & Grab Drivers’ saw this post:

In response, the comments were as such:

It seems that the only reason that drivers still stay with Grab is either because of their contract, or because of a lack of better alternative?

So the question that remains:

What exactly is Grab doing for its drivers, since the neither the fares nor the incentives are enough at this point?


obbana@theindependent.sg