Rushdan Eilyaas on his Facebook page, shared a story of how he used the service of Grabhitch on Christmas, 25 December after his work had ended during his shift, since Grabhitch offers 50 percent off the ride in the early morning of about 2am.
There were a few things that went wrong during the trip, such as how the driver, known as Star Tang, claimed to Mr Rushdan that he did not know where Harbourfront Centre taxi stand is and insisted he walk all the way at the other side of VivoCity where the taxi is. It was also said that the driver was not driving the Mercedes-Benz car as shown on the booking screen. Instead, he was driving a silver Chevrolet.
As Mr Rushdan did not agree to walk to him, a compromise was made eventually and the driver picked him up at the bus stop in front of Vivocity, which is still somewhat far from where he was. However, as Mr Rushdan was very tired, he complied to the driver’s request.
Mr Rushdan then wrote that he was surprised to see that the driver had his pet dog, a Chihuahua in the car along with him.
“Never in my life have I encountered a taxi/grab/uber driver that brought a dog along to pick up customers. I mean I know it’s Grabhitch but it is just plain unprofessional to do that. I know there are many animal lovers out there who wouldn’t mind this. But I thought it’s just very basic courtesy to at least inform your passenger especially with a muslim-sounding name if he might be okay with it?” he wrote.
Despite his displeasure, he proceeded to open the back door of the vehicle to take a seat, but was welcomed with some rude remarks from the driver. Mr Rushdan claimed that the driver said,”Eh you no shame ah, not embarrassed ah? This is Grabhitch leh, not Grabcar you know!”
Even though he was taken aback and appalled at his comments and barbaric mannerisms of speaking to a customer, but he apologised and even sat at the front passenger seat, not wanting any unnecessary confrontation. The driver then placed dog onto his lap and covered it with a blanket.
Upon being seated, Mr Rushdan then realised that the driver immediately ended the trip. Since there was a notification each time his credit card has been charged via grab. “How is this a problem? It is a problem of ethics because even before he delivered his service of completing the trip, I was charged a fee. In short, he was dishonest,” he wrote.
Along the way, the driver kept on lecturing him about the ‘hitch culture’, and remained adamant about how he thought his way of “educating” Mr Rushdan about the hitch culture was appropriate. Saying that as passengers taking the Grabhitch option, it isn’t right to sit at the back and treat the owners of the car as the “cheapest drivers to get to our destination”.
Mr Rushdan claimed that the driver even went further by saying that he was “doing a service to the community by allowing people to sit in his car at a very small fee and helping people reach their destinations”.
As they were about to approach the carpark of Mr Rushdan home, the driver then asked if he could drop Mr Rushdan before the gantry, which he agreed. The driver then stopped at the block furthest from his home.
As he was trying to unbuckle the seat belt, the sound he made probably riddled the dog. The dog jumped at him and bit him, leaving a bite wound on his right arm. However, the driver did not even apologise or offered to take a look at his arm.
Mr Rushdan then called up Grab customer service hotline to explain the whole situation to them. They encouraged him to file for a police report, and is said to have been very helpful throughout the whole process, although they mentioned that they are unable to divulge the driver’s details to Mr Rushdan, or the other authorities.
He also went to the police who have referred his case to Agri-food & Veterinary Authority of Singapore (AVA).
He shared that officers on both sides had handled the matter professionally and quickly. He even received a phone call from AVA the very afternoon, which was after Sunday and on Christmas.
“Ultimately, this is a story of how my $6 Grabhitch ride became into $123.40 matter as I had incurred $117.40 worth of medical bill, that included a tetanus shot and antibiotics. This story is very much real, and has happened to me. It is no joke. So please be safe,” he wrote.
When he posted the story on his Facebook page, some netizens replied by saying that they also had bad experiences also with the same driver.
One commented that he took a ride with this particular driver in the past, saying that the driver looked like he was high on drugs at that moment. Claiming that the driver even decided to stop the passengers at the expressway as, like he said, he do not feel like driving anymore.
Aw Meng Kit also commented that he had also a bad experience with this driver. He said that this driver asked him and his friend for $5 extra cost for the fuel, which they both agreed. However, he went further by asking for $20 cash instead of $10.50 for the promotional price and the additional $5 the driver earlier asked.
When they both declined to the request, the driver then asked them both to take another car as he said that “the atmosphere is not right”. However, the driver then took them back to the original location.
In addition, Mr Meng wrote that the driver drove recklessly, the car was very messy, and he also brought the dog in the car.
David Keon also wrote that his girlfriend had a bad experience too, that the driver was antsy and reckless driving, and also wanted to chose his own route instead of following GPS. “Lucky the dog didn’t attack my girlfriend. Hope you are okay,”
Ellery Chua commented on the issue, by writing, “If events are as you have stated this guy is terrible. Having an unrestrained dog in a car doing commercial carrage for hire is total unacceptable. I feel that LTA also needs to get feedback from you as what this driver is doing is dangerous n terrible . The fact that Grab will not release driver data to you or to Police is very disturbing. How can investigation proceed further if authorities can not interview the other party. This too also needs to be highlighted to LTA.”