Grab reinstates reward scheme following drivers’ complaints, reports 20% drop in demand

A woman walks past Grab's office in Singapore on 24 September, 2018. (AFP file photo)

SINGAPORE — Ride-hailing company Grab said on Friday (21 February) that it is reinstating a reward scheme for drivers following complaints about its removal after the launch of a $77 million support package by the government and industry players amid the COVID-19 outbreak.

In a news release, Grab also said it has observed a 20 per cent drop in demand and expects the decline to continue in the coming months. 

Grab had initially removed the “Super Steady” programme in tandem with the introduction on Thursday of its “Weekly Cover” scheme - part of its $17 million of measures to help its drivers cope with the downturn. Following its reinstatement, the programme will be in effect until May. 

Under the “Super Steady” programme, drivers are rewarded based on achieving a streak in terms of a number of months that they have driven at least 200 trips for Grab.

The “Weekly Cover” scheme allows eligible Grab drivers to receive up to $85 per week to supplement their fare earnings between 2 March and 30 May, in addition to the government’s support of $70 per week.

Of the $77 million support package announced on 13 February, $73 million will go towards a Special Relief Fund to help active full-time taxi and PHC drivers defray business costs.

The National Private Hire Vehicles Association (NPHVA) said on Friday that it has received much feedback from drivers that they are unhappy over Grab’s “allegedly unfair terms and conditions” in order to access the financial support.  

“We expressed concerns from the ground, as drivers felt that the Special Relief Fund and the incentive schemes should be treated separately. Our private hire drivers have already started to feel the brunt of the COVID-19 outbreak, with many of them experiencing a drop in earnings,” said NPHVA.

In response, Grab said, “We’ve heard our driver-partner community’s feedback on our “Weekly Cover” scheme rolled out yesterday. Many of them have expressed concerns over how the programme was structured...Grab will continue the Super Steady programme for driver-partners who currently enjoy this benefit.”

Grab, however, will not be reinstating a separate “Missions” rewards scheme, which was removed after the introduction of its COVID-19 related measures. Under the scheme, riders can choose and complete trips based on their schedule and driving patterns to earn rewards.

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