TRANSPORT network vehicle service Grab Philippines announced on Thursday that its GrabShare carpooling services in Metro Manila and Cebu will be suspended beginning Friday, March 13, as confirmed cases of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) in the country continue to rise.

In an advisory, Grab Philippines said: “To aid in the social distancing prescribed by the Philippine health officials with regards to the public health situation on COVID-19, Grab will be suspending its GrabShare services in Metro Manila and Cebu starting March 13, 12:00 noon.”

It said the GrabShare services will resume as soon as the public health situation “de-escalates.”

Meanwhile, its other transport services will remain available. “That means, commuters can still use GrabCar, GrabCar Premium, GrabCar 6-Seater, etc.,” it said.

The company also reminded the public to “plan their trips prudently and take personal hygiene seriously.”

Aside from carpooling (GrabeShare), Grab Philippines’ services include taxis (GrabTaxi), private car services (GrabCar), package delivery (GrabExpress), and food delivery (GrabFood).

Grab Philippines also announced recently that it has suspended around 856 “fake, incomplete, and invalid” passenger accounts as of February of this year.

Last year, the company suspended more than 351,000 accounts for the same reasons.

“As a general safety procedure, Grab’s Safety and Anti-fraud teams regularly go through and suspend accounts with fake, incomplete and unverified names. With this, users will not be able to book rides until they have updated their names on the system,” it said.

The company said it notified the said users and gave them enough time to update their profiles.

“These initiatives have deterred users who use the platform with ill, fraudulent, and malicious intent,” it noted.

It also warned users who frequently cancel on rides and do not show up to claim their food orders that their accounts could also be suspended.

It said such behaviors could result in “loss of opportunities and resources for [its] drivers and delivery-partners, damaging their ability to devote time and resources to those users who are truly in need of the service.”

It added: “Users who regularly provide low-ratings to drivers and delivery partners without specifics and actionable insights can also be flagged for possible account suspension.” — Arjay L. Balinbin