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Want to cancel your Grab ride? You’ll now be charged a P50 fee

Read the transport network company’s new guidelines

Grab ride cancellations are becoming really rampant. It’s time to discourage the habit. PHOTO BY VERNON B. SARNE

We’ve all done it. We’ve all canceled our Grab ride booking. And for a variety of reasons. Sometimes the driver is taking too long to arrive. Sometimes we need to tend to last-minute preparations. At other times we simply change our mind and realize we don’t feel like going out after all.

Whatever our common reasons are for canceling the ride, Grab is aiming to finally put a stop to the practice that is obviously putting its drivers at a cost-and-time disadvantage. Today, the transport network company announced a new set of guidelines which the firm said are designed to “promote responsible use of its services.”

Chief of these new guidelines is the implementation of a P50 cancellation fee on passengers who cancel a ride. That’s right: Hit the cancel button for no valid reason and you get fined 50 bucks. It’s that simple.

Obvious question: If you’re paying cash, how is Grab going to charge you the P50 cancellation fee?

“If a passenger is using cash, the cancellation fee is added to his or her next booking,” Grab Philippines PR manager Krhizzy Pasigan told VISOR. “The app will prompt the passenger that a cancellation fee will be charged. We would like to note that the fee will not go to Grab, but to our driver-partners to compensate for fuel and time lost.”

Below are the set of new cancellation guidelines for passengers:

1. Thirty GrabRewards points – When a driver cancels a ride, the passenger automatically gets 30 GrabRewards points, which he or she can use to redeem items or vouchers in the GrabRewards catalog.
2. Passenger timeout – After excessive cancellations, the passenger’s account will be temporarily suspended for 24 hours.
3. Cancellation fee – A P50 fee will apply to passengers who cancel the ride after five minutes of getting assigned a driver.
4. No-show fee – A P50 fee will apply if a passenger doesn’t show up at the pick-up point within five minutes for GrabCar and within three minutes for GrabShare upon the driver’s arrival.

If a passenger is using cash, the cancellation fee is added to his or her next booking. The app will prompt the passenger that a cancellation fee will be charged

Now, as with any business transaction, a Grab ride is always a two-way thing. Grab drivers are also sometimes to blame for why a ride gets canceled. Some of them even ask their passengers to cancel the ride so they don’t get penalized. And so for drivers, a new set of guidelines is now also in place:

1. Completion rate – Drivers are penalized if they go below the required completion rate. Completion rate is computed based on completed bookings, cancellation rates and ignored jobs. Completion rate also heavily affects incentives.
2. Driver timeout – If a driver excessively ignores or cancels booking requests, they are locked out of the platform for a temporary period of time.
3. Ratings and complaints analysis – Drivers with passenger complaints and low star ratings are also flagged. Grab gives out warnings and suspends or eventually bans drivers over repeat offenses.
4. Five-star driver tipping feature – For drivers who go above and beyond their duty, a new tipping feature allowing passengers to reward the drivers with a five-star rating has been rolled out.

Of course, there are always special (read: justified) instances in which it’s okay to cancel a Grab ride, and the TNC has laid down the terms to determine if your reason is legit or not:

1. No cancellation fee if a passenger cancels within five minutes of getting assigned a driver.
2. No cancellation fee if the driver isn’t moving toward the pick-up point (or is going the wrong direction).
3. No cancellation fee if the driver takes 15 minutes longer than the first estimated time of arrival. For example, if a passenger gets a driver who is three minutes away, but he or she has waited for more than 18 minutes for the driver to arrive, the cancellation is free.
4. No cancellation fee if the driver indicates that he has arrived when he has not.

If, after all these safeguards, you still get erroneously charged a cancellation fee, Grab will refund you within 48 hours if you report the incident via the in-app Help Center.

So there. Cancel a Grab ride at your own wallet’s risk.

Vernon B. Sarne

Vernon is the founder and editor-in-chief of VISOR. He has been an automotive journalist for 26 years. He became one by serendipity, walking into the office of a small publishing company and applying for a position he had no idea was for a local car magazine. God has watched over him throughout his humble journey. He writes the ‘Spoiler’ column.