SINGAPORE: Grab users will be charged a S$4 cancellation fee from next Monday (Mar 11) if they cancel a ride more than five minutes after securing a booking.
For ride-sharing service GrabShare, passengers will incur the S$4 charge if they cancel more than three minutes after securing a ride.
“We believe that this update makes cancellations fairer for everyone,” Grab announced on its website on Sunday.
Currently, Grab users are charged a S$5 fee if they cancel a ride for the third time in seven days, regardless of when the cancellation was made.
Under the updated guidelines, cancellations made within five minutes of getting a driver will be free. For GrabShare passengers, cancellations must be made within three minutes before they are penalised.
Cancellations are also free if the Grab ride arrives after its estimated time of arrival by more than five minutes.
Grab said it updated its cancellation policy to give passengers the flexibility of cancelling a booking they have just made, while ensuring drivers are also fairly compensated for their time and effort.
Drivers will receive 100 per cent of the fee as compensation for their time on the road.
"We expect this policy update to affect less than 1 per cent of our bookings, as the majority of passengers don’t change their minds after booking," Grab said.
A no-show fee of S$4 will also apply for passengers who take too long to show up. After waiting for more than five minutes, or three minutes for GrabShare rides, drivers will also be allowed to cancel the ride.
“If your driver decides to wait for you beyond this period, standard additional waiting time surcharges apply," Grab said.
Grab added that passengers will not be penalised twice in the same booking.
Passengers will only be charged for a late cancellation or for not showing up on time, and not both at the same time.
The fee will be deducted directly from the customer’s GrabPay balance or credit/debit card. For passengers who opt for cash payments, the fee will be added automatically to their next ride’s fare.
“The driver for your next trip will be informed to collect this fee on Grab’s behalf,” the company said.
SAFEGUARDS IN PLACE
In response to queries from Channel NewsAsia, Grab said that it has existing technology in place to ensure that its passengers and drivers are protected.
“Passengers will not be charged a cancellation fee after five minutes if the location data of their drivers show that they are still a distance away from the pickup point despite indicating that they have arrived," the company said.
Grab also encouraged its passengers to check in with their driver should there be any delays due to heavy traffic or a missed turn.
"Our technology provides us with information on the driver-partners’ and passengers’ locations, which will help us decide on cancellation fee waiver requests on a discretionary basis if necessary,” Grab added.
Passengers who feel that they have been incorrectly or unfairly charged are encouraged to report the incident to Grab via its in-app help center.
When asked about the five minutes grace period, Grab said that its data and usage trends indicated that it was a good length of time for users to decide whether to cancel a ride, without the driver being "too far committed" into the journey.
"The improved policy will compensate them duly for the time and fuel spent," Grab said.