Brian Cu Of Grab Philippines On How They Are Coping With The Quarantine and Pandemic
Brian Cu, Grab Philippines’ president, grimly laid out the facts: the pandemic has brought about an undeniably significant impact against the ride-hailing industry. This comes as several governments across Southeast Asia implement community quarantine measures or movement control orders. However, he has also proudly added that “we are fortunate that the diversity of our business and our keen sense of inclusive innovation has allowed us to continue helping and serving our communities.”
So many of us have come to depend on this ride-sharing service; it is a part of our lives and common vernacular. Now, with the suspension of transportation during quarantine, I can’t help but wonder what has happened to all the active Grab drivers and how have the Grab delivery or assistant services adapted to new sanitation standards?
As a transport company whose operations have been heavily hampered by the lockdown, Grab has taken extra measures to make sure their driver-partners, and the clients who book Grab services stay healthy and safe. They have made it part of their standard operating procedures for GrabFood and GrabExpress rider-partners to observe contactless delivery by keeping at least one metre distance from the consumer, Brian explained. He continued saying that those booking deliveries and pick-ups are encouraged to do cashless transactions to maintain the full contactless experience. After all, it is our responsibility as independent citizens to do our part in flattening the curve.
On top of that, their drivers are required to submit their temperature at least twice a day through their driver app which is reported to Grab. “We have distributed personal protective equipment such as masks and sanitisers, and have turned our driver centres into sanitiser refilling stations. We have also distributed around 30,000 face masks and almost 2,000 bottles of alcohol to our driver-partners in keeping with our commitment to the safety and hygiene of our partners.” Brian adds.
The shift of consumer behavior to online services and delivery options has become the norm, where essential goods must reach the Filipino people on a regular basis without forcing them to leave their homes or break social distancing
— Brian Cu
Since we all can no longer book a Grab to go to the office, the mall, or, well, to anywhere really, what has happened to all those drivers who rely on Grab for their main source of income? Brian revealed that they've set up a programme so that GrabCar drivers can temporarily transition to be GrabFood and GrabExpress Delivery partners during these trying times. Currently over 1,900 drivers utilised this unique opportunity to undergo virtual training and are currently earning an income during Extended Community Quarantine!
Help Your Own
Within days, Grab raised around Php 20M worth of relief items thanks to the Grab community. These relief goods were organised and distributed to benefit around 40,000 of Grab’s partners who have been negatively affected by the quarantine. Brian added that Grab has also provided thousands of driver-partners with access to an emergency fund to help them get through these challenging times.
When the COVID-19 crisis dawned on us, it was just very natural for us to band together, identify what we can offer, and what the situation needs to achieve a greater good
— Brian Cu
“We provide one-time financial assistance to our driver-partners who are under government-mandated quarantine, and financial assistance to cover medical bills to those partners who do, unfortunately, test positive for COVID-19,” Brian expounded. Taking care of their fleet of hard-working drivers is clearly a top priority in a company that depends on their service. In fact, before the implementation of the ECQ, the team worked with their bank partners in order to provide payment holidays for the car loans of Grab drivers.
“When the COVID-19 crisis dawned on us, it was just very natural for us to band together, identify what we can offer, and what the situation needs to achieve a greater good,” shares Brian. With mass transportation on halt, most of our brave health workers do not have a way to get to work at their respective hospitals. In response, Grab shared that they had decided to provide round-the-clock, free-of-charge transportation service for healthcare workers. Each GrabCar is uniquely marked so that frontliners can find them easily and they can each only accommodate two healthcare workers at a time in order to maintain social distancing.
Brian was overwhelmed when Grab asked its driver-partners who would be interested to be part of the GrabBayanihan initiative. “Thousands and thousands of our drivers stepped forward despite knowing the health risks that they will face on the road,” Brian exclaimed.
On top of that, GrabWheels, their electronic scooter service, was made free of charge for frontline workers. Hundreds have been deployed to cities around the country to support health workers transportation needs.
Life today is scary and uncertain for most. Brian explained that in the time of the enhanced community quarantine, services such as Grab’s have now become vital in keeping cities running despite the COVID-19 pandemic. "The shift of consumer behaviour to online services and delivery options has become the norm, where essential goods must reach the Filipino people on a regular basis without forcing them to leave their homes or break social distancing," he noted.
This new normal is something we Filipinos, and citizens of the world, will have to become accustomed to for the foreseeable future. With more innovations and adaptations from the e-commerce, delivery services and tech space, we can hopefully find a way to feel safer and more comfortable.
Read also: Keep It Moving: Getting Around Metro Manila With Oplan Hatid Laban Sa COVID