Coronavirus: Grab to provide training, financial support for delivery and driver partners

Grab Singapore's country head Yee Wee Tang addressing drivers and delivery partners at the ride-hailing company's Chinese New Year celebration on Feb 6, 2020. PHOTO: GRAB

SINGAPORE - In light of the coronavirus situation, Grab is extending its income protection efforts to all GrabFood delivery partners, in addition to the existing measures in place to support its drivers, the ride-hailing firm said on Thursday (Feb 6).

Under the income protection measures, GrabFood delivery partners who are hospitalised or quarantined due to the virus will be entitled to a one-off allowance of up to $200, said Mr Yee Wee Tang, country head of Grab Singapore, at its annual Chinese New Year celebrations.

Grab had earlier introduced measures for its drivers, which include waivers for vehicle rental and a one-time allowance of up to $500.

Ms Er Yi Ming, a GrabFood delivery partner since July 2018, said she was pleased to see Grab putting in the effort to support its delivery partners, but hopes that more can be done to support those who are the sole breadwinners of their families.

The 29-year-old said there has not been a decline in the volume of deliveries assigned to her since the first imported case of the virus on Jan 22.

The event on Thursday was attended by Dr Janil Puthucheary, Senior Minister of State for Transport, and Communications and Information.

Addressing about 800 Grab driver partners and delivery partners at the event held at the Suntec Singapore Convention & Exhibition Centre, Dr Janil commended Grab for its efforts.

He said the Government is also working hard to develop further measures to provide targeted support towards the private-hire car and taxi industries, with more details to be announced in the coming weeks.

In his speech, he announced a new partnership between Grab and the National Private Hire Vehicles Association (NPHVA).

Under the Grab-NPHVA Partnership, Grab drivers will be able to attend subsidised courses that aim to provide them with new skills relevant to their jobs, under what is known as the Driver-Partner Training Kit.

When the programme launches in the first half of 2020, Grab drivers will be able to attend two courses: one on defensive driving and one on skills for a digital workplace.

The defensive driving course will be conducted jointly by Grab and ComfortDelgro Driving Centre, and aims to equip drivers with the skills to improve their safety awareness and on-the-road reactions.

The second course, SkillsFuture for Digital Workplace, will teach drivers about emerging technologies so that they will be able to apply this knowledge to their jobs.

For example, a driver who attends the course might then be able to make better use of widgets in the Grab Driver application, such as the earnings insight widge,t which provides drivers with historical data on their earnings.

Labour MP Ang Hin Kee said he hopes to increase the number of courses offered in future.

Mr Ang, who is an adviser to NPHVA, encouraged driver partners whose earnings have suffered as a result of the coronavirus outbreak to use the downtime to attend such courses, so that they will be prepared when business picks up again.

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Mr Lee Kim Hock, 54, who has been a Grab driver for three years, said that there has been a "definite downturn" in his business.

As a result, he has had to increase his working hours from 12 to 13 hours a day to 15 hours a day.

But he is optimistic that he will be able to gain useful skills from the training programmes.

"While business is down, we have to be prepared," he said.

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