Grab gives P70M subsidy to drivers

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RIDE-SHARING firm Grab Philippines bared Thursday that the company has provided its drivers about P70 million in subsidy in the past two weeks amid the limited supply of its transportation network vehicle services (TNVS) units.

The subsidy program, which the company rolled out last June 19, aims to ensure sustainable income for its drivers while meeting the demand for rides from its passengers.

“We have provided around P70 million for over two weeks. Almost lahat affected (Almost everybody was affected) and they will be given subsidies,” Grab Philippines country head Brian Cu said in an interview with reporters on the sidelines of the launch of its Smart City initiative in Makati City.

“The reason why we shifted to subsidies from incentives is that we saw that a lot of drivers who are driving part-time do not hit incentives anyway. May mga trips na nalulugi sila (They have trips wherein they are losing money). The subsidies ensure that the assistance for driver income occurs on a more broad basis. Rather than a few getting a lot, there are now a lot getting enough,” he added.

Grab earlier said the earnings of its drivers have declined since the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board suspended the P2-per-minute travel charge last April.

Ideally, TNVS drivers should be earning at least P5.50 per minute or P330 per hour, according to the ride-hailing firm.

Grab is eyeing to spend more than P100 million a month for the fare subsidy, which will be based on the duration of riding hours of passengers and will ensure that drivers get the ideal fare rate as computed by its system.

The ride-hailing firm is also seeking for the migration of about 6,000 drivers to its platform, who were displaced following the halt of the operations of its competitor Uber.

Grab makes some 600,000 bookings nationwide per day, which increases to 800,000 during peak hours, while TNVS supply in its platform remains at 33,000.

Meanwhile, the firm is eyeing to implement a multimodal transportation system, wherein its TNVS units will be integrated into other modes of public transportation. This will provide a variety of choices for transportation by commuters as they go to their destinations.

“The idea for us here in the Philippines is to take away cars traveling along congested roads and move them into higher capacity vehicles, like shuttles and buses,” Cu said.

The Grab official said the company is coordinating with transport regulators to provide a free hand in franchising shuttles and other modes of transportation.

“We are now meeting with P2P bus operators to see how we can use them as mid-mile while we provide the first and last mile form of transportation, either by cars or trikes,” he said.

Grab hopes that this initiative would help encourage passengers to use public transportation to ease the traffic congestion in Metro Manila.

p: wjg

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