Netizens unhappy with Grab’s move to charge users S$4 for cancellation fee

Starting next Monday (11 March), Grab users who cancel their ride more than five minutes after securing a booking will be charged a S$4 cancellation fee.

This new policy will replace the existing one, where passengers receive a S$5 penalty if they cancel a ride for the third time in seven days, no matter when the cancellation was made.

“We believe that this update makes cancellations fairer for everyone,” Grab revealed on its website on Sunday.

With this new announcement, drivers will gain full sum of each cancellation fee, the ride-hailing company said. They added that they see this policy change as an improvement that will “allow more flexibility for passengers, while ensuring that we stay fair to our driver-partners”.

As for ride-sharing service GrabShare, the penalty is much stricter as users will sustain the S$4 charge if they cancel after three minutes of booking a ride.

A S$4 will also be incurred if the passenger fails to appear and the driver cancels the ride after waiting for five minutes (three minutes for GrabShare) or more. However, if the driver wants to wait for the passenger beyond the estimated time of arrival, then the standard additional waiting time surcharge of S$3 for every five minutes will apply.

According to Grab, the reason for this policy revision was to help the frustration drivers face when they get cancelled on after they’ve already made the effort to get to a passenger. “For passengers, we have put in place both incentives and penalties to discourage drivers from making unnecessary cancellations. But it is only fair we take care of our driver-partners too,” it said.

“For many of them, Grab serves as a source of income, and when passengers cancel at the last minute, or don’t show up for their ride, drivers waste fuel and miss out on earnings they could have gotten from taking another job,” Grab added.

However, Grab is also keeping its users in mind where cancellations will be free if the Grab driver arrives after its estimated time of arrival by more than five minutes.

“We’ve updated the policy account for the fact that there may be many reasons why passengers cancel a ride”, such as if the passenger entered the wrong pick-up point, or of the driver had to be delayed after getting stuck in traffic, said Grab’s spokesperson.

The company also added, “Passengers will not be charged cancellation fee after five minutes if the location data of their drivers show that they are still a distance away from the pickup point despite indicating that they have arrived.”

Grab also said that passengers will not be penalised twice in the same booking. This means that they will only be charged for a late cancellation or for not showing up on time, and not both at the same time.

In terms of how the charge will be paid, it will be deducted directly from the customer’s GrabPay balance or credit/debit card. For passengers who pay by cash, the fee will be added automatically to their next ride’s fare.

Upon reading this announcement, netizens are obviously not happy. Over 400 comments were received on Channel News Asia’s and TODAYonline’s Facebook pages where they mostly complained and said that it’s unfair for passengers.

Many even questioned if Grab drivers will be penalised if they cancel the ride.