Singapore-based ride-hailing firm Grab is still providing its GrabHitch service despite the Government’s advice for employers to practice telecommuting as a part of enhanced physical distancing measures to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
Founding director of embroidery and printing service Stitch n Print Adrian Koh on Wed (2 Apr) observed that the incomes of taxi drivers and private-hire drivers “have reduced tremendously due to lack of passengers and yet #GrabHitch is still allowed to operate”.
GrabHitch is a social carpool service where private car owners will give passengers a lift at their convenience. Passengers who utilise the GrabHitch service will pay drivers a distance-based fare.
Retaining this service at this point will be against the Government’s safe distancing guidelines, which have been adopted by many individuals and firms nationwide.
Several netizens have expressed their agreement with Mr Koh’s post, and have agreed not to support the GrabHitch service during this time.
The said netizens also pointed out that GrabHitch as a service in itself is unsuitable in Singapore, as many passengers are not willing to share the ride with others and are only keen on securing low fares for their rides.
Other netizens criticised Mr Koh’s post, stating that both drivers and passengers may be forced to rely on GrabHitch to make money and to save money respectively.
One commenter highlighted that the GrabHitch service should not be blamed for Grab partner-drivers’ loss of income during this period — instead, Singaporeans are encouraged to think about how the social distancing measures put in place because of COVID-19 are affecting the livelihood of retail workers and other workers relying on physical interaction with customers.