Changing the ‘incentive’ system on Grab

Written by Stanley Semilla | Published at 18 May 2018

Today, while riding a GrabShare going to Makati, my driver counter-flowed and created his own route to beat the traffic going to EDSA. We almost got hit by an SUV, and several times had a close call to other cars. This experience is not the first time, rather one of many experiences I've had with Grab and the former Uber.

I remember myself hearing (or even saying), "kaya ganyan ka-reckless/unsafe ang mga bus/jeep/taxi dahil naghahabol ng mga pasahero.” (The reason why bus/jeep/taxi drivers are reckless or unsafe is because they’re trying to get as much passengers as they can) And yes, that might be true. These drivers most probably do not own what they’re driving. Thus, they have to pay a boundary (or fee) every day to their operators or car owners.

This system of paying ‘boundary’ is also happening in Grab. Thus, leading to Grab drivers trying to get paid more by getting more trips everyday. But wait there’s more, Grab has an ‘incentive’ system. Operators/Drivers can get additional payment from Grab if they reach a certain number of trips. There are two periods where an operator/driver can work for this incentive — from Monday to Thursday, and from Friday to Sunday. I’ve heard from a driver that this can go from 50 to 75 trips. And one can get an additional of Php2000, even reaching up to Php5000. That's nice, and it means one can get an additional of Php20000 per month from the incentive alone. Now that Grab has placed this incentive system, a willing driver will do everything he can just to get that incentive. Know how? A driver can do the following:

  • Get as much trips as you can everyday. Meaning you will drive for more than a usual 8-hour job.
  • Avoid long trips. Do not accept trips coming from Pasay going to Quezon City. Or even Makati to Antipolo. Accept only short trips.
  • Beat the traffic. Of course, everybody wants this. Even non-Grab drivers. But beat it by not following traffic rules.
  • Reject trips passing through heavy traffic. Even though we have Waze, do not accept trips passing through known heavy-traffic areas.

That's just a few things you can do to be able to get as much incentive as you can, as a Grab driver. Now we ask, have we stopped developing or creating ways for drivers to be reckless?

I have something in mind, that's the main reason why I wrote this. And probably, you might have thought of this too. Let's propose a change in the way Grab computes for incentives. And who knows, this might lead to drivers not being too reckless in driving.

Here's my basic proposal: count the number of hours a driver is online & in-transit.

From giving incentives to drivers getting more than 50 trips, why not, give them overtime pay? A normal employee works for 40 hours per week. And if they work beyond that, they get overtime pay. I'm not saying remove counting of trips, because there are drivers who can get to 50-75 trips in less than 40 hours. But give another option where a driver can get an incentive. Let them work overtime. Here's how I think it can work:

  1. From Monday to Thursday, if a driver is able to be online and in-transit for more than 32 hours, a driver can get overtime pay per additional hour.
  2. If a driver gets X number of trips before 32 hours, driver gets the normal incentive (based on the number of trips). If the driver prefers this incentive, driver is not allowed to get overtime pay.
  3. If a driver gets X number of trips before 32 hours, and proceeds to work more than that, the driver will get only get one incentive (trips vs hours) whichever is higher.

Now, this gives the driver an option if they'll go for a trip incentive, or an hour incentive. If we get drivers to do the hour incentive, this means that there'll be more drivers on the road available for riders to book. It can also lead to drivers now accepting trips from Makati to Antipolo more often.

This is just my 2 cents on how a change in Grab's incentive system can change the way drivers offer their service.

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