Grab driver-partners face a time-out when they repeatedly pick and choose jobs assigned to them. Starting 17 September 2018, drivers will be made unavailable and temporarily prevented from receiving new jobs.
This group of drivers who are commonly labeled as ‘Cherry-pickers’ only accepts jobs that are high in fare or heading towards a destination that they want to head to. These drivers generally have a low acceptance and or high cancellation rate.
Many drivers have adopted the cherry-picking approach as Grab incentives reduced and became unattractive. Drivers staked out at high fares zone and waited only for the high fare trips.
‘Cherry-Picking’ became a big problem for Grab riders and drivers. Riders’ waiting time increased as they had to wait for a ‘willing’ driver to accept their trip.
Drivers were also affected as calls that were not accepted by the nearest driver would be assigned to the next available driver. As a result, drivers often complained of long pick-up distance. Grab recently announced a far pick-up bonus to address the problem.
The new Time-Out feature will push drivers who consecutively ignore or cancel jobs offline. When the driver is on a time-out, there will be a countdown timer activated to show how long more is the time-out.
Once the timer runs out, drivers will be informed that jobs are no longer on a time-out. Drivers can then tap on the ‘Unlock’ icon to continue receiving jobs.
The duration of the timeout will be reflected on the Grab Driver app. Drivers who persistently ignores or cancels, without completing a job, will result in a longer timeout period.
Rider cancellations and other valid cancellation reasons such as ‘Passenger no show’, ‘Passenger is with a child’, ‘Too many passengers or luggage’, that do not affect cancellation ratings will not result in a timeout.
The Fight Against ‘Cherry-Pickers’
Cherry Picking is a longstanding problem in Singapore. Long before private-hire car service was prevalent, commuters often complained that taxi-drivers were also cherry-picking when they disappeared right before peak hours and before midnight.
Taxi Drivers will wait for bookings instead of street pick-ups to earn the additional booking surcharges. Drivers will also go ‘offline’ and reappear after midnight to earn the additional 50% midnight surcharge.
This is not the first time Grab has attempted to fix the cherry-picking problem. Grab had earlier implemented a minimum 30% acceptance floor rate for drivers to adhere to. Drivers who fail to achieve the minimum acceptance rate will be subjected to higher service fees.
The Time-Out feature is not something new. Drivers who used to drive for Uber should be familiar with the feature.