[Update: 14 June 2018, 2.30pm]
For the “first few days of launch”, Grab said they sent out in-app messages to passengers who use the service from 1am to 5am.
A mass message of this notification was not blasted to all Grab users however.
Commenting further on the previously-mentioned safety concerns, a Grab spokesperson said that they’ve received feedback from their driver-partners and passengers that it can be an “unpleasant experience to be matched with unruly passengers on the same GrabShare ride”.
“As most of these reported incidents happen between 1am and 5am, disabling GrabShare during this period helps create a safer and better experience for both drivers and passengers.”
In line with this precautionary measure, Grab has recently enhanced its in-app Emergency button, so that passengers may alert an external security company and/or their emergency contacts if there’s an urgent need for assistance.
Passengers can also set up auto-alerts to notify them when any unusual traveling pattern is detected.
Earlier this month, Singapore-based ride-hailing firm Grab made a move to disable its GrabShare feature between 1am and 5am everyday.
For those unacquainted, GrabShare allows passengers to carpool with another traveler headed in the same direction for a cheaper ride.
This announcement was made to Grab drivers, but passengers were not notified of this change at all.
According to Grab, they decided to abolish this service in the wee hours of the morning after receiving “numerous reports” about safety concerns.
It did not disclose further what these safety concerns were.
Passengers Angry They Weren’t Duly Notified
In an email to drivers last Monday (June 4), Grab said: “Dear Partner, to further improve the GrabShare experience and safety for our Partners and passengers, the GrabShare service will not be available from 1am to 4.59am daily.”
“This change has been in effect starting today. All other services will remain available at all hours.”
According to a Channel NewsAsia report, many Grab customers have written in to complain about the lack of update.
It comes as a rude shock for them when they wanted to book GrabShare, only to realise that the service has been disabled.
One Grab customer told CNA that he finds it “disrespectful” that Grab failed to inform passengers of this development.
He typically ends his work shift at 2am and takes GrabShare to commute back home, which usually sets him back $13.
Now, he has to fork out up to $24 for JustGrab or taxi rides.
To put things in perspective, GrabShare rides are 30 per cent cheaper than JustGrab rides, but still subject to surge pricing.
Another frustrated customer said that Grab should “be more transparent and make an announcement before they implemented this so that riders can plan better.”
Drivers Also Unhappy About This Change
Some drivers also told CNA that the disablement of GrabShare has impacted their income.
According to one driver, GrabShare has allowed him to earn more from each ride, as he would be able to ferry more passengers at a time.
“When I work late hours, I like to take advantage of GrabShare at Changi Airport because I can pick up more than one passenger. But now I can only take one at a time.”
“It’s less value for my fuel,” he added.
Another driver said that business is actually brisk for Grab drivers at night – he once earned a total of $50 from two passengers when he picked them up at around 3am via GrabShare.
“This is an example of how Grab exerts its monopoly in the ride-sharing market. And we drivers have our hands tied because there’s no other viable options to work at,” he told CNA.
Featured Image Credit: MegaBites / Screenshot from Grab driver