After news of Phase 2 (Heightened Alert) broke, it is almost as if we could hear an audible sigh from our taxi and private-car hire drivers. Many of them must have thoughts of “not again” going through their minds after the announcement was made.
Shortly after the news was announced, various initiatives were announced to help drivers, including rest stops that were introduced.
Grab announced a $1 fee hike to help drivers?
The most surprising and perhaps controversial announcement so far is Grab’s decision to increase its fares by $1. Even though Grab will give the full amount of this $1 to drivers for the entire month of June, this increase is permanent, and Grab will earn 20% of commission on every added dollar from July onwards.
Drivers that we spoke to shared that the increase would not help them, as it was likely to turn away price-conscious customers during this period. Many drivers also reported a 50% fall in the number of their trips and earnings.
Another oft-heard complaint in the drivers’ circle is the feedback that rental rebates do not help all drivers. This is since there are different rental companies, and Grab’s offering of rental rebates will only benefit those who rent from Grab. The rest who are renting from other companies will not enjoy this rebate.
So what would help drivers instead?
When asked, most drivers asked for Grab to reduce the commission that it was taking from drivers. (Grab is currently taking a 20% commission from all drivers.) This move will benefit the greatest number of drivers while not driving away (pun intended) more customers for them.
If Grab is sincere in helping drivers, perhaps it should consider lowering the commission for a month or two instead. The current price hike seems like an opportunistic move to earn more eventually and permanently from consumers. (Not cool Grab, not cool at all…)
$27 million from the Govt to help all drivers
Another real and present help that is given to all taxi and private-hire drivers is the $27 million that the Government has set aside.
Under the Covid-19 Driver Relief Fund, 56,000 drivers will receive an additional $10 daily per vehicle till the end of June.
In total, drivers will receive S$25 per vehicle each day, up from the present S$15 per vehicle.
Most drivers prefer direct cash payouts that help them with petrol costs and operating overheads. We believe that Grab should rethink their decision to increase their fares if they truly wish to help our drivers.