Grab apologizes to passengers, says improving services
MANILA, Philippines - Amid passengers’ complaints of “abusive and choosy” drivers, GrabPH on Thursday, September 10, issued an apology saying the company is already looking at ways to improve its services.
“GrabTaxi has always been committed to providing a better option for public transportation. We would like to apologize to commuters as not everyone was able to get a ride home via our service during the downpour last Tuesday, 8 September 2015,” Grab said in its Facebook page.
Passengers’ complaints on Grab were amplified Tuesday when thousands of passengers were forced to walk home due to traffic bottlenecks caused by torrential rains.
Former Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) "traffic czar" Yves Gonzalez called Grab’s attention saying that while GrabTaxi markets itself as an alternative from abusive taxi drivers, the app instead is being used by drivers to exploit commuters. (READ: Are Grab drivers abusing commuters’ rights?)
“Many of our drivers were affected and got stranded, like the rest of Metro Manila, and were not able to accept bookings as they were caught in the gridlock. The flooded road conditions also meant that they would have risked passenger safety and their cars breaking down,” Grab explained.
Acknowledging that there’s still room to “improve our passengers’ experience,” Grab said it will take the following steps to increase the number of bookings accepted.
- It will improve the algorithm of matching demand and supply during peak hours via its app updates. “Currently, availability of drivers can be more accurate and we are further developing the app to address that,” the company said.
- It will enforce a stricter process of reprimanding drivers for the improper use of the app, reminding them on the “high service levels expected.”
- It will review its pricing model and effectiveness of the optional tip feature, while maintaining simplified fixed pricing for GrabCar passengers.
GrabTaxi is a mobile application, founded in Malaysia in 2011, that allows users to book taxis. GrabCar is the app's alternative form of service which uses cars through licensed partners, in case there are no available taxis during rush hour.
One of the causes of passengers’ frustration with the app is its optional “tip” feature, where drivers, according to netizens, wait for big tips before accepting passengers.
“The system has made a mockery of the traditional definition of a tip, which is something given after a job or service is well rendered. A tip in the current system is plainly a bribe to the driver for him to accept a trip,” Gonzalez earlier told Rappler.
Grab said the purpose of fixed pricing model is to make sure passengers won’t be given unreasonable fares due to unforeseen circumstances on the road.
“In the event that these happen, the tip function allows us to balance out high demand during low supply situations without forcing passengers to pay a surge. There have been varying viewpoints on the value of this feature, and we commit to reviewing it to better suit the market,” Grab said.
On complaints about abusive drivers, Grab said: “We will not hesitate to investigate and deregister errant drivers. We urge passengers to rate our drivers and give proper feedback in our app so that we may be able to take corrective actions, if any.”
The Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) has already asked Grab to explain complaints against its choosy drivers. The board is set to meet the company’s representatives on September 16. - Rappler.com