A complaint on taxi driver website has drawn the attention of Grab drivers regarding the issue of whether the taxi drivers are allowed to choose the most efficient route when passengers booked for Just Grab service with fixed price.
One of such taxi drivers, Ivan Yii, posted a screenshot of a complaint filed by Ms Fion Peiying on Singapore Taxi Driver Facebook group.
The complaint that was shared by Yii was filed on a site earlier in April, taxisingapore.com and apparently has since been deleted.
A passenger, Fion Peiying wrote that she was using Just Grab service which allows costumers to get cars or taxis faster at a slight cheaper rate.
The complainant then wrote that she wanted to go to BKE and asked the driver to go through Stevens Road.
However, the driver disagreed with her and said that he prefer to go there through CTE as it will save his time, adding that from $22 shown on the application, he would actually only get $18.
She then argued that if they went through CTE then she would have to pay $8 for the ERP, instead of $4 if they went through BKE. She said that the driver asked her to just cancel the booking if she insisted on going through BKE and said it to be a disappointing JUSTGRAB taxi experience.
She wrote that she expects an explanation from GRAB, SMRT and the driver and also an apology from the driver.
Yii, the person who posted the complaint, wrote that he thought drivers were allowed to choose the route for fixed fare even though it may incur higher cost along the way due to Electronic Road Pricing (ERP) gantries and noted that he would do what the driver had done.
"Some cheapo passengers are really cheapo to the max, want take cabs, want fixed fare still want the cheapest way regardless if that way might end up taking a longer time at the expense of the driver," he wrote.
Many taxi drivers commented on the post, questioning whether they are allowed to choose the route when they pick up passengers who are using fixed fare taxis so they are able to pick the most efficient route and they will be able to get more passengers during the day.
GRAB: Driver to compromise as much as possible
JustGrab is a service provided by GRAB Singapore that allows passengers to find the nearest fixed fare taxi and car within their vicinity and said to offer lower fares with dynamic pricing which adjusts to real-time market demand, resulting in cheaper fares at low demand periods.
A FB user, Simon Goh Sc went over to Grab Singapore's Facebook fanpage and wrote a post to question the company whether can a passenger choose their preferred route when using JustGrab/ Grabcar where the fare is fixed, and asked for a clear Yes or No answer on the matter.
In its reply, Grab replied that for JustGrab and Grabcar bookings, passengers are allowed to advise drivers on which route to take. However, Grab noted that the fare indicated in the application is based on the GPS route on the application.
Grab then noted that drivers have been trained to compromise as much as possible to passengers' preferred route for their bookings and seek passengers' understanding on the drivers' point of view.
In response to Grab's reply, Simon commented that the answer is a standard sweeping answer that leaves the individual to interpret as they deem fit. He wrote that passengers will argue that they have the right to advise and expect drivers to comply, while drivers will argue based on GPS (shortest/fastest route) so need not comply since rider can only advice.
A taxi driver, Jensen Quek wrote at the Facebook group, "That's the problem, this will not be the last argument.
i have stopped taking JustGrab because too many implication of erp costs. FIXED FARE take at your own risk if you are using taxi to ferry."
Passenger: Does not need to know about money that GRAB gives
On Thursday afternoon, Peiying was added to the Facebook group and replied to comments that are addressed to her complaint.
One commenter, Ben Ong wrote, "Your route is right, but the driver had the final decision, to take which route as CTE is always a GPS suggested route, I assume you are from North Marsiling going to Steven road?"
She wrote, "I agree with you. Driver got the final decision , I don't usually request routes but my frustration is why he never listens and take my advise when I shows him the traffic route and insist going by CTE. The moment I say BKE he said in mandarin 不可能的咯 (not possible) loudly. The main issue for my bad experience is his attitude. ERP is just a supporting sentence which I said to him. I am pretty sure I've been nice and never argue as it's early in the morning, it ruins everyone's mood. But him grumbling telling me about money grab gave all that isn't what I need to know. I just need a quiet ride which brings me from home to work place...But anyway, chill everyone. I'm not trying to defend myself la. Just that nobody knows what I'm going through that day with the driver. It's been a month! If not because of Ivan, I wouldn't even remember this"