Grab drivers in Malaysia are planning a strike on Friday (August 5) in protest of low delivery fares that they say are forcing them to work longer hours to earn the same amount.
Mohd Azril Ahmat, a Grab driver, told Coconuts that he expects around 60% of Grab drivers to support the strike, while the other 40% would be against it. He said calls to protest began with Grab motorcycle riders but drivers are also feeling the burden.
“We plan to go offline and not work on Friday,” he said.
Azril explained that, as of late, delivery fares for longer journeys have been much lower.
He said that drivers have always earned RM5.00 (US$1.12) net for deliveries, which is acceptable if the delivery time to the destination is five minutes. But these days, he said, Grab is paying drivers the same amount for destinations that are much further away.
Azril said that, for a five-ringgit fare delivery, it would usually take drivers around fifteen to twenty minutes to complete the delivery, including pick-up time.
“The ideal fare should be RM1(US$0.22) equals one minute of delivery time, so a RM25 (US$5.61) ride should take around 25 to 30 mins, But now a 40-minute journey would cost the same amount,” he said.
“If I’m aiming to make RM320(US$71.80) from Monday to Thursday, and RM400 (US$89.75) from Friday to Sunday, after deducting Grab’s commission of 20%, I will have to work for around 10-12 hours,” he added.
Grab, however, denied the above allegations when contacted for comment by Coconuts.
It also shared an internal statement that addressed a viral post about a Grab rider receiving RM3.00 (US$0.67) for a delivery. It read:
“The issue of the minimum fare dropping to RM3 was raised on social media. We want to clarify that the matter is not true and there is no change in the minimum fare. Important points:
• The minimum fare rate remains the same for all delivery partners. No minimum fare reduction to RM3 occurred.
• The viral screenshot showed that the RM3 rate was in June 2022, where there was a technical error in the fare rate display,”
Besides the concern over low fares, Azril also highlighted another issue concerning the safety of drivers. He said previously, they would need to work approximately ten hours to reach their daily target but now these hours have gone up to 12 hours.
He said he was worried that these longer hours would lead to a rise in accidents caused by drivers who have no choice but to work even while exhausted.
“Do you see now what we have to go through because of lower fares? Do you think we should be made to be on the road for 24 hours just to make ends meet?” he asked.
He said considering Grab is a dominant player in the industry, it has the ability to influence how other companies set their fares.
“So if Grab lower their fares, then others would follow too,” he argued.
“And the arrival of apps that give consumers all the freedom to set fares have had a great impact on drivers. To some extent, Grab had to lower the price of this market in order to compete,” he added.
When asked how services like Grab would survive if they increased their fares, Azril simply answered, “That’s for smart people to answer, I can only share facts from my experience of being on the road every day”.