The 'platform fee' will go towards "funding [their] operating expenses" and will be used to "invest in various initiatives and product enhancements". 

Published 2018-05-30 13:01:30

Since its launch in 2015, GrabHitch drivers have always earned the full fare for its carpooling services.

They needn’t pay the 20 per cent commission fee unlike GrabCar and GrabTaxi drivers, but that is set to change as Grab imposes a 10 per cent “platform fee” for GrabHitch drivers starting this Friday (June 1).

According to Grab, this fee will be deducted from Grab’s “driver wallet” – it’s payment system for drivers – one to two working days after completed carpooling rides.

Grab Makes Changes To Be “Sustainable”

Image Credit: Grab

Grab sent out an email to its GrabHitch drivers on Tuesday stating that this move aims to help keep its “next wave of development … sustainable”.

It added that this fee will “fund [their] operating expenses” and will be used to “invest in various initiatives and product enhancements”.

This isn’t a one-way benefit though, as Grab emphasises that these will all go towards “[channeling] value back to [the drivers] in greater fold”.

This value, according to an FAQ on Grab’s website, will come in the form of better matches, reducing last minute cancellations and no-shows from riders, among others.

Drivers who have negative balances in their driver wallets will be given limited access to booking requests, and will have to bring their balance back to a positive value by completing rides in order to regain full access.

GrabHitch drivers will also receive a weekly statement reflecting their activity and earnings the week before, including incentives received and platform fees paid.

Divided Opinions On This Move

The Uber-Grab price wars are now over, and many Singaporean users have been complaining that Grab is hardly pushing out promo codes anymore now that Uber is out of the game.

Now that the promo code era is over (for now), some users think that it’s “fair” for Grab to start imposing charges instead of “providing [their] platform for free forever”.

Moreover, Grab has been “burning marketing money till now in order to gain market share”, so it only makes sense for them to implement this fee due to the “lack of competition”.

@Z_Dash’s comment on Hardwarezone forum
@cloudnim’s comment on Hardwarezone forum
Comments on a Reddit thread

On the other end of the spectrum, not many are understanding of this move.

Some users blatantly implied that Grab has been acting like a tyrant since they gained majority of the market share.

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Many Facebook users also felt that the 10% fee is too steep, and it will not help to cover the drivers’ traveling cost such as petrol expenses.

Moreover, they felt that this newly-imposed fee does not align with Grab’s vision of GrabHitch as a social carpooling community that taps on drivers’ goodwill to let fellow Singaporeans hitch a ride – it is never intended to be a profit-earning initiative.

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Facebook comment
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Facebook comment

As many are visibly upset over this newly-imposed fee, many GrabHitch drivers have left angry comments telling others to “boycott” Grab.

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Some added that while they cannot do anything to change this, drivers will eventually find ways to “bypass the system”.

One user suggested cancelling on a GrabHitch booking when it’s confirmed, and then paying for the ride via cash instead. Or if you’re a regular rider with a particular driver, liaising via text messages can override such charges too.

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Featured Image Credit: Grab / Facebook comments 

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