Grab to stop passengers from using front seat

Commuters will also have to fill in health and hygiene declarations before each trip. ST PHOTO: KUA CHEE SIONG

Commuters looking to book trips with ride-hailing firm Grab will soon be stopped from sitting in the front seat of the vehicle alongside the driver.

They will also have to fill in health and hygiene declarations before each trip.

These are among a series of precautionary measures the firm is introducing from the end of this month amid the Covid-19 pandemic, Grab said yesterday.

"As part of our enhanced precautionary measures, Grab will enforce safe distancing within Grab vehicles by disallowing passengers to ride in the front seat.

"This means, for instance, that a regular four-seater car will only take up to three passengers."

It said drivers and passengers will both be able to cancel rides if the other party appears to be unwell or is not wearing a mask.

The party who cancels the trip will not be liable to any penalty.

On the requirements to declare health and hygiene status, Grab said its drivers and delivery riders have already been submitting health declarations daily.

"The new online health and hygiene declaration feature will require all drivers and delivery-partners, as well as passengers, to confirm that they do not exhibit Covid-19 symptoms, and have adopted the necessary safety and hygiene measures, before they can start driving, delivering orders or booking a ride," said Grab.

"Drivers and delivery partners will also be prompted to take a selfie using the mask selfie feature after completing this declaration."

In addition, Grab said it has updated its ratings and feedback system to allow users to report health and hygiene-related concerns.

Drivers and passengers who are found to have inadequately carried out precautionary measures could have their accounts suspended.

Grab's regional head of operations, Mr Russell Cohen, said the firm is looking to set a higher bar for hygiene standards in ride-hailing.

Ride-hailing firm Gojek and taxi operator ComfortDelGro both said they have put in place measures as well, when asked about their Covid-19 precautions.

Gojek general manager Lien Choong Luen said its drivers will get complimentary car fogging and sanitisation services, with demand set to pick up after Singapore exited the circuit breaker period yesterday.

ComfortDelGro's group chief corporate communications officer Tammy Tan said its fleet of taxis has the SafeEntry system for contact tracing.

She added that 400 ComfortDelGro taxis are being fitted with a plastic shield around the driver's seat as part of a trial. If successful, it will be extended to more of its fleet as a way to minimise contact with passengers.

Correction: This article has been edited for clarity.

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on June 03, 2020, with the headline Grab to stop passengers from using front seat. Subscribe