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Grab reinstates incentives scheme after driver backlash

Grab reinstates incentives scheme after driver backlash

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3 -min read
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GRAB has reinstated its incentives programme for drivers after complaints that its move to replace the scheme with a Covid-19 aid package was unfair.

On Thursday, Grab announced the launch of a programme called Weekly Cover that will give eligible drivers either S$85 or S$45 per week in income support, depending on the tier a driver is in.

The programme is part of Grab's contribution to the S$73 million Special Relief Fund set up by the government to help private hire and taxi drivers tide through a fall in earnings due to the coronavirus outbreak.

Grab had said that Weekly Cover replaces its current incentives programme, prompting instant backlash from drivers who felt that the aid package and incentive schemes should be treated separately.

On Friday, Grab reinstated the incentives scheme until May 2020 after a meeting with the National Private Hire Vehicles Association (NPHVA) and representatives from the Land Transport Authority.

Grab and NPHVA will continue discussions to review the scheme. There is no change to the terms and conditions for the Weekly Cover support package.

NPHVA had "received much feedback from drivers as they were unhappy over allegedly unfair terms and conditions set by Grab, in order to access the financial support", said Ang Hin Kee, adviser to NPHVA.

In a statement on Friday, a Grab spokesperson said: "Our primary intent was to provide better earnings security for our driver-partners, especially when we have seen a decline in rides per driver-partner, mostly due to decreased commuter demand and drop in tourist arrivals. Overall, we observed a 20 per cent drop in demand and expect it to decline in the coming months."

The spokesperson said that under the Special Relief Fund, from March 2 to May 30, the government's S$10 per vehicle daily contribution will be disbursed to eligible drivers. There is no additional criteria from Grab. 

Drivers will also retain their Emerald Circle tier during this period. Emerald Circle is Grab's driver rewards system.

Mr Ang said: "We will continue to engage our private-hire car operators to see how we can better support and care for our drivers. Operators must look at how they can help drivers to cope with business costs – rental, fuel and commission etc, as well as how they can better boost ridership by offering short-term promotions to commuters."