Friday 15 February 2019

Go-Jek And Grab...A Private Hire Driver.

In mid-January 2019, I stopped driving SMRT Taxishare and switched to a Private Hire Vehicle Driver (PHVD) with Grab and Go-Jek.

Why?.....Because the rental of an SMRT TaxiShare for 9 hours is $85, whereas a private hire car is only $55 for 24 hours...a $30 difference per day.

I don't have to be a rocket scientist to realize that I can save and earn an extra thousand a month driving a private car and at the same time be able to drive the rented car up to Malaysia.

However, with TaxiShare, I can choose as and when I would like to drive and pay only for the rented hours. But as a PHVD with a rented car that has a monthly contract, I've to fork out daily rental regardless of whether I drive or not like a Taxi Hirer.

In Singapore, if you hold a Taxi Vocational Licence, you are allowed to drive either a private hire car or a taxi with some minor restrictions. The major restriction is a private driver cannot pick up street passengers or enter taxi stands. Other than this major restriction, the playing field is even.

So happily, I registered with Grab and Go-Jek, two major ride-sharing platforms. Uber had left Singapore.

The conversion from a GrabTaxi to GrabCar driver was smooth and easy. It was completed within a day at Grab office. But the road to becoming a Go-Jek driver was onerous with countless delays.

Frankly, either I was extremely unlucky or Go-Jek IT team was hopelessly incompetent that caused the needless delays.

On 16th Jan.2019, I personally submitted all the required documents to join Gojek as a driver partner in their office at Midview.

I was attended by an exemplary lady (Miss Joo) who reviewed my documents thoroughly and loaded onto their “boarding” system successfully.

Then the wait for approval and activation began………………….

After four (4) days, I contacted Miss Jo, who was helpful to provide me with a contact number, for follow-up on the status of my application.

I was not surprised that my application was on the waiting list as the volume of applicants was large.

Miss Jo pleasantly assured me that the “higher-up” in the IT team had been notified to keep an eye of my application. She had no control over my application after submission and did not try to weasel away her responsibility.

Days went by with no approval nor activation of my application. 

Meanwhile, Go-Jek incentives for drivers had been drastically reduced from $140 for 18 trips to just $50 for the same amount of trips.

Anyway, I incessantly pestered Miss Jo for an answer. Without fail, she handled my frustration professionally. Hence, I kept my cool with no complaint.

But, after the fourteen days of waiting, with no activation, I lost my patience and wrote an email to their management to rant my grievances. 

I had no complaint on missing “the boat of Go-Jek generous incentives” but was greatly disappointed with Go-Jek team of amateurish IT technicians who couldn't get a job done promptly.

Honestly, my initial enthusiasm for joining Go-Jek was lost.

Most new applicants to join Go-Jek gets their approval on the spot if they registered in their office with a prior appointment date in their office. For my case, it took nearly a month.

To rub salt on my wound, after two days of driving with Go-Jek, I could not withdraw my earning from Go-Jek. I had to drop into their office to submit fresh bank statement to validate my banking account. 

Again, it took nearly a week before I could get my hand on the cash that I work so hard for it. 

Apart from these initial disappointments with Go-Jek, the more important realization was that I could not earn a decent income for 9 hours of driving as a private car driver.

Please let me explain.

I rented a car (Toyota Altis 1.6) from MPV Company at $55 per day. The petrol consumption of this car was $0.15 per kilometer (10.7km/Ltr) and Go-Jek/Grab cuts a 20% commission from my fare collections. So, if I drive 9 hours and collected $200, my nett earning is only.....$75.00 (without
Go-Jek/Grab incentives)

Collection of Fares..............$200.00
Less Rental..........................$ 55.00
Less Fuel (200km).............. $ 30.00
Less Commission.................$ 40.00
Nett Income (9hrs)...............$75.00
or $8.30 per hour of driving, without incentives.

Honestly, the problem of my low income is not the rented car or Go-Jek/Grab systems but my inability to achieve the incentives due to my age.

To earn more, I've to accomplish the periodic and ever-changing incentives that Go-Jek/Grab dangles by driving long hours, make more trips and at the same time, meeting the minimum performance of 85% acceptance rate (below 15% cancellation of jobs). If a driver cancels one job, he has to do about 7 trips to compensate for the one job cancellation. To me the incentives are therefore not easily achievable. 

Generally speaking, the job of driving a private car with Go-Jek/Grab is suitable for those who own their car and drives to earn extra cash or use the car to run personal errands like housewives and retirees. Also, young drivers who have lots of energy and stamina to hit the incentives with a minimum of 12 hours driving would earn a reasonable income. 

I think I would eventually settled to be a relief taxi driver like I did for the last 10 years.

Below is a quick comparison of my income between being a relief taxi driver and a private hire car for driving 9 hours.

Collection of Fares..............$180.00
Less Rental..........................$ 50.00
Less Fuel (200km).............. $ 20.00
No Commission...................$ 00.00
Nett Income (9hrs)...............$110.00
or $11.23 per hour of driving without incentives.

In conclusion, if I want to earn slightly more and get a day or two off without having to worry about paying daily car rental, then palpably I have to become a normal relief taxi driver again.


Anonymous said...

My thought too about switching from taxi to phv as I own my car. However till now I have not make the move for a few reasons. Firstly it does not make sense to me to cough out 2 to 3 k for a commercial car insurance every year if I drive for hirer. Secondly, why would I pay a third party app 20% for their calls for their depressing low fare? I can't take street pax, can only depend on their calls, what if one day they decide to ban you for calls for whatever reasons, then how? Then there is this issue of picking children without car seat, in case of injury due to accident, guess what, insurance company will not pay and things start to get worst when pax start to sue you for picking them with children. However driving taxi will not have all these issues.

Anonymous said...

Whats worst is when you drive phv for the incentives, you often have carry out unreasonable requests from some paxs if you dun want them to give you a bad ratings. Just 1 bad rating could cause you your hard earned incentive. FYI incentives are not permanent and seems like getting worst ever week. By the way in order to get cheap rental, often you will sign monthly or a year contract. When involved in a accident if car in workshop even for a few days, you still coughing out the daily rental. Right now the number of phv is growing without any control from the gov, unlike taxi. Do you think you can earn a decent income with so many phv on the road. I think in spite of of these issues, you still find so many driving phv, why? I believe most drive phv due cos they not qualify to drive taxi due to underage or not Singapore citizens. Then there is this group of part time drivers like insurance agent, doing outdoor sales driving to supplement their income. Retirees, housewife driving to pass time, maybe. Finally I believe some drive phv simply they just want to 'own' a car without actually owning and paying for it. The appeal of getting a brand car to drive right away is simply too irresistible for them. I call this group car slaves, period.

Diary of a Singaorean Cabby said...

Hi Two Annon,

I love your comments, the best for a long time. They are valid and sensible thoughts.

Thank you.

James Lim

Anonymous said...

Go-Jek is no angel. That's a matter of fact.

I was recently informed that a small amount has been debited for a trip which the passenger did not take (due to his unreasonable request to wait for 15mins).

I have no problem for that small amiunt deduction but what really infuriatede was how Go-Jek described as "investigation" to me. However, I have not received a single call/email from Go-Jek to establish both sides of the story. Go-Jek, in this case, is no different from Grab - which is equally famous for penalize-driver-first-talk-later approach.

What is sorely missing in ride-hailing regulation is a proper transparent investigation process which is applied in the taxi industry. In fact, Go-Jek lacks many official black & white policies. To which, I am beginning to question if Go-Jek is intentionally making it a grey area.

Diary of a Singaorean Cabby said...

Hi Anon,

Thank you for your comment.

My experience driving with Go-Jek was short lived. Therefore, I've not experienced what you've sadly gone through. However, I can categorically say that COMFORT Delgro is no different from Go-Jek and Grab in the treatment of their drivers. They support riders first as their glorious brand of customer service and consider drivers dispensible. In most instances, Transcab and Premier Taxi are reverse in their attitudes towards their drivers. When these three marons learn their lessons that riders and drivers are both their blood-lines?

Anonymous said...

Relatable, thanks for the honest opinions and sharing of info!

Eazy Maxi Taxi said...

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Maxis Taxis said...

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CreepticN said...

Grab is an awesome taxi application! When I was in Malaysia I used it so much that I decided to open the same enterprise back home. But unlike South-East Asia here the competition is soo huge with different government and private taxi companies that without job management software I think I will not be able to control the work flow and the drivers movements.

Anonymous said...

Congrats to those dudes who wanna open the business of their own. But you bro, do you wanna think that you will have to make a lot of loot first to buy at least one jalopy? Ain't have any idea man where you gonna get it. So unless you take a loan your idea sucks, pardon my French.