GrabCar bans prank caller, an SMRT taxi driver, for harassing its drivers

A Grab vehicle along Bukit Timah Road on May 11, 2016.
A Grab vehicle along Bukit Timah Road on May 11, 2016. PHOTO: ST FILE

SINGAPORE - He would make bookings for rides at odd hours of the night or give bogus destinations and pick-up locations.

Once, he even booked a ride with Pulau Ubin as his destination.

These were a few of the ways in which Mr Peter Quek had harrassed drivers with ride-hailing service GrabCar over nine months since November last year.

Grab, the firm behind GrabCar, said it has "permanently banned" Mr Quek from the ride-hailing platform after investigating a complaint against him from a driver.

This is believed to be the first reported case of someone who has been banned from a ride sharing service for harassing its drivers.

"We take a very serious view on abuse of our platform. Abusers of our platform, be it a driver or passenger, will have their access to the platform revoked, and severe cases escalated to law enforcers," said a Grab spokesman.

The Straits Times understands that Mr Quek is a driver with SMRT Taxis in his 30s or 40s. He could not be reached for comments.

SMRT corporate information and communications vice-president Patrick Nathan said the transport operator was conducting its own investigations into the matter.

Besides giving fake destinations or pick-up points, Mr Quek would make excuses not to board the ride after the driver had arrived, claiming he had already gotten a taxi.

He would then force drivers to cancel the booking, a move which would affect the driver's cancellation rate and reduce the incentive payment they receive from Grab.

GrabCar driver Eliza Shen said she filed a police report - a copy of which was seen by ST - against Mr Quek last Wednesday (July 20) after being harassed by him in WhatsApp messaging groups and Facebook discussion groups.

She said that even though there were other GrabCar drivers directing angry comments at Quek, he saw her as an easy target because she was a woman.

He called her a 'chio bu' (attractive woman) and said she was 'not bad looking'. "They were all very sexist comments," said Ms Shen.

He also persisted in posting photos of her son, which he took from her Facebook account, in instant messaging chat groups and on Facebook, she said, even though she had told him not to do so.