Grab eyes more incentives for drivers

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GRAB Philippines is looking to give its drivers more incentives to encourage them to operate during rush hours as the shortage of available drivers pushes fares higher.

Grab officials also expressed hope the Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) will open more slots for the application of new Transport Network Vehicle Service (TNVS) units to address the shortage.

Oo. Pero hindi pa tayo makakapagbigay kung anong exact amount (Yes, but we cannot give an exact figure),” Grab Philippines Public Affairs Manager Nicka Hosaka-Maningat told reporters on Dec. 18 when asked if the company is planning to give its drivers more incentives.

“As an example, dahil mas mataas ang demand kapag peak hours… meron tayong mga bonus na binibigay sa kanila para ma incentivize sila na magmaneho kapagka rush hour… So pinag-aararalan natin yan kung papaano natin ‘yun magawa for the drivers (because demand is higher during peak hours… we give a bonus to incentivize drivers to drive during rush hour… We are studying how to give that to the drivers),” she added.

The Philippine Competition Commission (PCC) has imposed new fines on Grab Philippines for overpricing and increased driver cancellations. The new set of fines includes P14.15 million for pricing deviations, and P2 million for driver cancellations of 7.76% of rides, instead of the 5% ceiling.

Ms. Hosaka-Maningat said Grab will comply with PCC’s order, which covers the May to August monitoring period.

In November, PCC also ordered Grab to pay a P23.45 million fine, P5.05 million of which should be refunded to consumers.

Despite these fines, Ms. Hosaka-Maningat said Grab will continue to provide incentives for drivers.

’Yung sa drivers natin, the fares that you pay actually go to them, at nagbabayad lang sila ng 20% for the use of the platform (The fares you pay go to the drivers, who pay 20% for the use of the platform). We still want to have that incentive scheme for our drivers so that para sa kanila as TNVS operators and as drivers, reasonable at fair ‘yung kinikita nila (what they earn),” she said.

She said none of the fines will be passed on to consumers or drivers.

Lahat ito Grab ang sasalo, walang ipa-pass on. Walang makakaltas sa drivers (Grab will shoulder the fines, nothing will be passed on. Nothing will be taken from the drievers),” she added, noting that the fines the company needs to pay will be taken from its contingency fund.

Ms. Hosaka-Maningat also reiterated that Grab continues to comply with the LTFRB fare matrix, which takes into consideration the time and distance travelled by the customer.

However, the PCC said in its press release on Dec. 18 that Grab’s pricing commitment is separate and independent from the LTFRB fare matrix.

“While LTFRB has imposed a fare matrix for all transport network vehicle services, the PCC binds Grab to its voluntary commitments, including keeping its fares within a range as if a competitor like Uber were present in the market,” it said.

Ms. Hosaka-Maningat said Grab had negotiated with the PCC from September to October on the new system-wide average monitoring scheme, which takes into consideration the market condition.

As for the supply problem, Ms. Hosaka-Maningat said the company is hoping that the LTFRB would open 20,000 new TNVS slots.

She said that as of December, there are only 35,000 to 36,000 active drivers in a day. She noted that there are around 700,000 to 800,000 bookings a day.

“If we wanna talk about profitability, moving forward, we intend to stay in the market, we intend to continue providing our services… So, we continue to coordinate with the LTFRB para magbukas sila ng panibagong slots,” the Grab official said. — Arjay L. Balinbin