Grab's new driver reward system raises questions

Scheme guarantees up to 5-figure income, but some say hitting targets regularly will be hard

Ride-hailing firm Grab rolled out a new reward programme on Monday (Oct 29) that guarantees up to a five-figure monthly income, but questions have already been raised about how sustainable the targets are.

Under the programme, a driver who hits 180 trips a week for one month, for example, can earn $10,888, before deducting costs such as rental and fuel.

Grab, which has a significant regional presence, guarantees gross monthly incomes of $6,888 to $11,888.

If a driver is unable to reach this amount despite meeting the various targets, the company will top up the difference.

Private-hire car driver Jack Toh said such targets are achievable, noting that he hit more than 190 trips last week.

But the 38-year-old added it would be difficult to hit this figure on a regular basis, noting drivers might have to drive for up to 12 hours every day of the week.

"You cannot go on holiday overseas, you cannot fall sick, you cannot take a few days off to rest," he said.

Mr Ang Hin Kee, executive adviser to both the taxi and private-hire vehicle associations, said it will not be sustainable for drivers to hit the trip incentives on the higher end of the scale.

NOT EASY

You cannot go on holiday overseas, you cannot fall sick, you cannot take a few days off to rest.

PRIVATE-HIRE CAR DRIVER JACK TOH, on regularly hitting the required 180 trips a week for one month in order to earn the promised five-figure sum.

The Ang Mo Kio GRC MP said such targets also contradict a campaign Grab launched earlier this month, aimed at improving health and occupational safety for drivers.

Among the measures introduced is a feature in the Grab app that measures driver fatigue, and reminds drivers to take a break when they have been driving for too long.

 
 
 
 

"I don't know how they reconcile these two. I cannot imagine that somebody can attain (the targets) and get adequate rest, and also be able to sustain it in the long term," he said.

Grab Singapore head Lim Kell Jay had spoken about the tiered rewards programme, which is for both private-hire car and taxi drivers using its platform, in an interview with The Straits Times last week.

It is seen as an attempt to attract new drivers and entice existing ones to stay on with Grab, ahead of Indonesian rival Go-Jek's entry into the Singapore market, which is expected by the end of this year.

Separately, a review of the regulatory framework for the taxi and private-hire car sectors - first announced in March - is expected to be completed by the middle of next year.

In a Facebook post last week, Senior Minister of State for Transport Janil Puthucheary said the new framework will include a prohibition against driver exclusivity arrangements for all parties in the sector, among other measures.

"This will ensure that drivers are free to choose which operators to drive for, reduce entry barriers for new operators, and ensure more options for commuters," he said, adding that more details will be announced in due course.

Mr Ang welcomed the move, and said it could mean less empty cruising and better earnings for drivers, as they would be free to get bookings from any platform they choose.