SINGAPORE: "Unruly passengers" are the reason why ride-hailing firm Grab decided to disable the GrabShare service between 1am and 5am every day, the company told Channel NewsAsia on Thursday (Jun 14).
The response from Grab comes after Channel NewsAsia reported on Wednesday that the GrabShare feature had been removed from the app during those hours last week, with emails sent out to drivers on Jun 4 showing that the change "has been in effect starting today".
"We have received feedback from our driver-partners and passengers that it can be an unpleasant experience to be matched with unruly passengers on the same GrabShare ride. As most of these reported incidents happen between 1am to 5am, disabling GrabShare during this period helps create a safer and better experience for both drivers and passengers," a Grab spokesperson told Channel NewsAsia.
"Drivers and passengers can continue to choose from multiple Grab services during those hours," it added.
Grab did not elaborate on the number of reports of "unruly passengers" they have received.
The move to remove the GrabShare service during those hours has been met with ire from regular riders, with Ms Nancy Chan lamenting the lack of transparency and Mr Kamal Razaleigh calling it "unacceptable" that Grab did not inform passengers of the change.
Some Grab drivers also said that it had affected their income. One driver, who wanted to remain anonymous, said that the drivers have their "hands tied because there's no other viable options to work at".
Passengers who claimed they were not notified of the change said they had written in to Grab's customer service after realising that they were unable to make a booking on GrabShare, and received a response saying that the service was disabled during those hours "due to safety concern", without further elaboration.
In its response to Channel NewsAsia on Thursday, Grab said that it believes it is "important to take a proactive approach to ensure a safe and positive experience for both our passengers and driver-partners".
The ride-hailing operator said it has recently enhanced the in-app emergency button so that passengers may alert an external security company and their emergency contacts if there is an urgent need for assistance, or set up auto-alerts to notify them when any unusual travelling pattern is detected.