Grab is using US$7M to help GrabCar drivers meet new transport regulations and get better support

Yon Heong Tung
Grab-office

Grab is also launching the Road Stars programme, which aims to foster a driver support network

Southeast Asian ride-hailing giant Grab has announced it will pump S$10 million (US$7 million) into helping GrabCar drivers meet new transport regulation.

This will include paying for drivers’ Private Hire Car Driver Vocational License (PVDL), all PDVL-relate charges including the PDVL application fee, medical checkups, as well as training and test fees.

Additionally, Grab will support drivers’ application process through its online PDVL application portal, and notify and update their status regularly.

The announcement coincides with the Singapore Land Transport Authority (LTA)’s announcement today, which states that applications for the PDVL will open on 13 March 2017. Drivers are required to complete and send in the forms by 30 June 2017.

According to its website, eligible applicants must hold a Class 3/3A driving licence which has been valid for a continuous period of at least two years.

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There is one aspect of the criteria that differs between Singapore citizens and PRs/Foreign Work Pass holders: Singapore citizens can apply for PDVL as self-employed drivers, while non-citizens must be employees of a company providing chauffeured services in order to qualify.

All applicants will have one year to attend and pass the PDVL course. However, they are still permitted provide private hire car services within this one-year transitional period. Applicants whose applications reach LTA after 30 June 2017 must obtain a PDVL before they can provide private hire car services.

The Singapore Taxi Academy will conduct the PDVL course, which consists of two hours of self-study, and classroom coaching of eight hours.

Other Grab support

Grab said that part of the new US$7 million investment will also be used to launch a new gamified driver support programme called Road Stars Programme, with the aim of encouraging drivers improve the quality of their service and earn a sustainable income.

It will pair up to two experienced drivers with new drivers in teams of five to earn S$2 million (US$1.4 million) in prizes.

The teams will earn points through completed GrabCar and GrabShare rides. A series of mini games will also enable drivers to enable additional points or cash prizes. The top team will win S$50,000 (US$35,200).

“We are experimenting with a new approach to gamify the driver experience to help onboard and build a closely-knit Grab community of drivers. Driving need not be a lonely experience. Road Stars helps to bring new and experienced drivers together and share the best ways to earn higher incomes and better serve passengers consistently. Grab hopes to improve and replicate this driver programme in more of our cities if successful,” said Lim Kell Jay, Head of Grab Singapore, in an official press statement.

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Grab will also be providing medical care support to its drivers by regularly contributing to their Medisave accounts through the GrabCar MediSave Programme. It matches a percentage of a driver’s earned incentives, subject to a driver’s own contribution to the individual’s MediSave account and a maximum monthly cap of S$200 (US$140).

Additionally, Grab will enhance the security features of its app for drivers. Later this year, all Grab drivers will be required to verify their profiles on the app through biometric or facial recognition.

Making Grab rides friendly for families

On the passengers’ end, Grab has rolled out a new service to make rides more comfortable for parents travelling together with their kids — GrabFamily.

GrabCar vehicles in this service will be equipped with compact and portable mifold Grab- and-Go child booster seats. This will enhance the safety of young children during rides. It is designed for kids between four and seven years old.

Under the Singapore’s Road Traffic Act, it is mandatory for children under 1.35 metres in height to use appropriate child restraints when travelling in private-hire vehicles.

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However, in a survey conducted by Grab with 520 Singapore-based parents last month, only one in three own a child safety restraint and only 8 per cent use it when they are not driving; 47 per cent of the parents said private-hire car companies should provide the child safety restraint.

“We understand that many parents in Singapore do not own child booster seats and prefer not to invest in one so we are making every GrabCar on the road child-friendly by partnering with mifold. Trained GrabCar drivers can now legally transport child passengers aged four to seven. Grab cares deeply about safety and will continue to invest in making Grab the safest transport platform for our passengers,” said Andrew Chan, Head of GrabCar Singapore, in an official press statement.

Bookings for GrabFamily will cost S$2 (US$1.40) more than the regular base fare of S$2.50 (US$1.8) for GrabCar Economy rides.

Image Credit: Grab

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