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Grab to bar passengers from front seat under new COVID-19 measures

Passengers will no longer be allowed to ride on the front seat beside the driver, Grab announced on Tuesday (Jun 2), part of a new suite of measures to minimise the spread of the COVID-19 coronavirus.

Grab to bar passengers from front seat under new COVID-19 measures

Commuters walk past a Grab transport booking service app advertisement at a train station in Singapore, on Feb 10, 2016. (Photo: REUTERS/Edgar Su)

SINGAPORE: Passengers will no longer be allowed to ride in the front seat beside the driver, Grab announced on Tuesday (Jun 2), as part of a new suite of measures to minimise the spread of COVID-19.

The measures, called GrabProtect, will be progressively rolled out in Singapore from the end of June, the ride-hailing company said in a media release.

Drivers, delivery personnel and passengers are now required to fill out an online health and hygiene declaration form on the Grab app before they can start driving, delivering orders or booking a ride.

After completing the declaration, drivers and delivery personnel will also be prompted to take a selfie of themselves wearing a face mask. They are currently only required to make daily health declarations.

"The COVID-19 pandemic has created greater awareness of safety and hygiene across all industries,” said Russell Cohen, regional head of operations at Grab.

“Safety has always been a core value at Grab and with programmes like GrabProtect, we are setting a higher bar for hygiene standards in ride-hailing.

“Together with our driver partners, we can help enforce new hygiene habits even before the ride starts."

Both Grab passengers and drivers will be allowed to cancel a booking if either party shows up without a mask by selecting “driver/passenger did not wear a mask” as the cancellation reason. They can also cancel rides if either party appears unwell.

The penalty for cancellations for these two reasons will be waived, Grab said.

READ: Masks to be worn as default, face shields allowed only for certain settings and groups like children aged 12 and below

READ: COVID-19: What the law says about having to wear a mask when outside your home

It added that it has updated its app to allow users to provide feedback after every interaction, such as whether drivers or customers practised good personal hygiene or took precautionary measures such as contactless delivery.

“Grab will take the necessary actions, including the suspension of driver-partners’ and passengers’ ride-hailing accounts, to protect the safety and well-being of its users,” it said.

GrabProtect will be rolled out progressively in Singapore from end-June 2020. (Infographic: Grab)

Grab’s new measures came as Singapore entered the first phase of the post-circuit breaker period on Tuesday with some businesses being allowed to reopen and students returning to school.

According to a recent Grab survey of its users in Southeast Asia, wearing masks, providing hand sanitisers in vehicles and disinfecting car surfaces before every ride are the three most important preventative measures against COVID-19.

Grab said it will be exploring partnerships with manufacturers and suppliers to make it easy and affordable for drivers and deliverer personnel to buy hygiene products at discounted rates.

"Grab will continue to evaluate its measures and policies, and adapt as the situation evolves," the company said.

"Our users can expect more information on these measures through in-app updates over the next few weeks."

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Source: CNA/ec(ac)


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