Grab explains side on most complaints posted by passengers on social media

Photo from Brian Cu's FB page

Grab Philippines claims to have sanctioned up to 500 drivers in the past week amid numerous complaints against some of its drivers across the social media. The transport network company (TNC) cited unjustified ride cancellations as the main reason for most of the sanctions.

The ride-hailing service provider on Monday (April 23) released an official statement with an apology to all its passengers who may have experienced any inconvenience in the past days.

“We have rolled out additional and stricter measures to address issues on cancellation and this is just the start,” Grab Philippines Country Head Brian Cu said in the statement. He also assured the public that Grab will not tolerate unlikely behavior of the network’s drivers especially if the quality of service is compromised.

Cancellation complaints
In the past week, a Facebook post by a Grab passenger named Karl Davin went viral as netizens reacted over a screen grab of his SMS conversation with Grab driver named Mario Telie Espino Tayan. The latter refused to cancel the booking after informing the former that he can’t make it to the pickup site. When the passenger asked the driver to do the cancellation instead, Tayan said he will not do so and even challenged Davin to wait indefinitely while he takes his lunch.

In an interview with broadcast-journalist Pinky Webb over CNN Philippines’ daily morning TV show The Source, Cu agreed that the driver was rude to have dealt with the passenger that way. He revealed that Grab has suspended the driver after hearing his side. If Tayan would incur similar complaints, the company said it might ban him from the platform for life.

Cu also explained the policy for ride cancellations. According to him, Grab drivers are allowed to have only 5% cancellation per week. That means if a driver completes 120 bookings per week, he is allowed to cancel six times within the period. If a driver incurs a cancellation rate of at least 10%, he may face sanctions like suspension (about three to five days) or complete prohibition to use the platform again.

Two-way street
However, Cu reminded passengers that Grab is also dealing with cancellations on the part of the customers. “I hope that passengers could also hold on to their bookings,” he said. “We encourage our passengers to be responsible by maintaining minimal and valid cancellations and keeping wait time to no more than 7 minutes.”

Grab reiterated that drivers can also file complaints against passengers, who may also be subjected to sanctions. Based on Tech and Lifestyle Journal’s experience, a Grab account would not be able to book a ride within a day after several cancellations. A customer service representative also usually calls after a few hours to ask the reasons for cancellation. The company also has the right to suspend or even ban a passenger from using the platform.

P2 per minute charge and visible destination
Grab acknowledged the sudden rise in cancellation rates over the weekend (April 20 and 21) as some drivers reacted to the action of Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) to suspend the P2 per minute charge, which the company admitted to having implemented since July 2017 without duly informing its passengers first.

“Drivers have to buy gas, pay the monthly amortization for the vehicle, or the daily boundary, and when traffic stalls them, it is only the P2 per minute that saves their income,” Cu said. In a separate media interview, Cu explained that Grab could not provide its drivers a portion of their cut from booking fees, because he said the company currently loses P30 per booked ride.

Lastly, Grab reiterated that it will not disable a feature that enables drivers to see the destination of passengers before agreeing to a ride. Cu said the feature helps assure the safety of drivers, who have the prerogative to refuse to take a booking to a destination that they may seem unsafe and risky. But Grab disclose that it is looking at other alternative measures that may possibly enable it to drop the feature in the future.