STARTING on Friday, Grab drivers will no longer see the destination of passengers on their job cards before accepting bookings, according to the chief of Grab Philippines, who said this could help reduce the “selective behavior” of drivers in the platform.
Brian Cu, who heads Grab Philippines, said his group deemed it necessary to remove the feature of the Grab Driver app so that drivers will be forced to accept bookings without a bias on destination.
“We hear what our riders want, and we will continue to improve our services while making bookings more efficient for our drivers. We will implement non-showing of passenger information before ride acceptance, as it is a major source of complaints,” he said.
The feature, Cu earlier explained, was placed so that drivers may opt to accept the booking or not, based on their perception of the area’s safety.
Grab has been receiving hundreds of complaints from its customers due to the “picky” behavior of its driver-partners, technically known as peers.
Users of the platform have been vocal on social media as to how drivers requested—or for some, demanded—their booking to be cancelled.
Grab provides incentives to drivers who meet the metrics on booking acceptance, cancellations and number of trips.
The destination-masking feature, however, will temporarily be unavailable for late-night and early-morning bookings.
“For added protection during the wee hours of the night, drivers, however, have an option to see passenger destination,” Cu added.
Aside from this initiative, Grab is also rolling out an “auto-accept feature” that allocates jobs automatically to drivers, allowing for a more “seamless experience in continuously accepting passenger requests.”
“We want to vastly improve our services—hence, our consecutive decisions to sanction 500 errant drivers over the week, and now the non-showing of the passenger destination and the auto-accept feature,” Cu said.
The auto-accept driver-app feature will be fully rolled out on Friday. The destination masking will initially be rolled out to 25 percent of Grab drivers with historically low acceptance rate.
In addition to the improvement on the driver experience, passengers will also be required to provide correct and complete account information. They can also link their account to social-media platforms.
Cu said this is “very important,” as driver safety is a primary concern.
“We will never compromise safety, and we will always put the welfare of our drivers and passengers first. We thank our drivers for understanding the masking of destination feature. We hope that our passengers will do their part and verify their accounts for safety and proper identity,” Cu added.
Despite these “compromises” on Grab’s part, Cu maintained the position that the main reason for the difficulty in booking a ride is due to the lack of cars.
With a low supply, he said, Grab cannot accommodate all bookings made at the same time.
Cu said there are “fewer drivers on the road,” as a result of the temporary scrapping of the P2 per minute charge per ride by the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board.
This, he said, made the service “not optimal,” although Grab is “trying its best to keep more drivers on the road” to keep up with rider demand and prevent long waits and price surges.
Currently, Grab Philippines is the only transportation network company that actively operates in the country under a digital ride-hailing model, after its parent company bought out Uber’s assets in Southeast Asia.
The regulator approved several petitions from entrants, but their services will only be available starting next month.
Image credits: Nonoy Lacza