IN the bustling landscape of South-East Asia’s ride-hailing industry, navigating the competitive market requires a delicate balance between addressing the needs of driver-partners and ensuring exceptional service for passengers.
As such, Grab has implemented a number of strategic enhancements to its platform of services, which will simultaneously benefit both driver-partners and passengers – including a number of new features to aid its driver-partners’ day-to-day operations.
One of the main issues that arises during meetings with driver-partners is the idle time spent on the road.
To combat this, Grab has introduced new features to help its driver-partners optimise their earnings and time spent on the platform.
One such feature is the introduction of Zones. These zones feature a predefined list of geographical areas that driver-partners can sign up to drive in for a fixed period of time, between three to five hours.
Signing up to specific zones ensures that driver-partners will only receive bookings within the areas they signed up for.
The inclusion of zones makes it easier for driver-partners to boost their earnings by enabling them to complete more trips per online hour, with shorter distance travelled between trips.
The My Destination feature works in a similar fashion as it enables driver-partners to indicate the destination they want to head towards, while ensuring that bookings assigned to them will bring them closer to their destination.
Another newly introduced feature is the Heatmap, which predicts and highlights where high demand areas will be based on historical data and real-time insights.
The Heatmap also indicates the average waiting time to get a booking in each area, as well as providing the option for driver-partners to move towards any highlighted area to increase their chances of bookings.
Hotspot Navigation is a similar offering that specifically predicts in-demand hotspots that are nearest to a driver-partner's location, based on real-time data.
This feature, which is currently piloted in Singapore, will even help driver-partners navigate the most efficient routes to the hotspots, if they choose to head to those areas.
Seamless driving experience
To enhance the overall driving experience for driver-partners and passengers alike, Grab has launched an improved version of GrabMaps.
GrabMaps provides location-based intelligence and services, which is supported by a comprehensive map solution that is continually updated to document back alleys and even narrow side streets across South-East Asia.
This up-to-date map helps to reduce unnecessary time spent by driver-partners, as it provides accurate estimated time of arrival, and ensures the best and most efficient route possible to complete rides.
Having trouble locating your Grab driver during pick-ups will be a thing of the past with the inclusion of the “Share Live Location” feature.
This feature offers passengers the choice of sharing their live location with their assigned drivers if they are unsure of their accurate location, making it easier for them and the drivers to find each other.
Apart from that, Grab has added other elements such as Back-to-Back Bookings and Auto-Accept to further boost productivity and reduce idle time.
Back-to-Back Bookings makes switching from one ride to the next more seamless, as it looks for the next booking for driver-partners even before they complete their current trip.
Auto-Accept, meanwhile, minimises the chances of driver-partners missing incoming assigned bookings as it automatically accepts incoming trips on their behalf.
This both increases efficiency and reduces idle time during peak periods, while increasing the number of rides that driver-partners can complete per online hour. Driver-partners can opt to turn this feature off at any time.
Another added feature is Allocation Swaps, which basically swaps bookings in the back-end to assign the closest driver-partners to passengers. This helps to save time for both parties, and reduces the time needed for driver-partners to complete each booking.
Automated Tolls has also been added to the Grab platform that automatically populates and includes estimated toll prices into the final fare owed by the passenger. If the accumulated toll fees are inaccurate, the driver-partners also have the option to edit the toll fees to the correct amount.
Finally, Grab included the Locations to Avoid feature that provides driver-partners with the option to choose a limited number of locations to avoid. This means that driver-partners can choose to stay away from certain locations and will not get assigned to any trips in those selected areas.
Grab product fulfilment head Prashant Kumar shared these new features during a virtual session titled “Driver Productivity in South-East Asia”, held on Aug 25.
He said that, since the introduction of the new features and functions, there has been a 3.55% reduction in average idle time for driver-partners and a 10% increase in average earnings per online hour from 2021 to 2022.
“To be the most reliable rider-hailing platform we must be prepared for a multi-event outcome, in fact we obsess over it. These measures will lower driving costs and improve the overall marketplace health,” Prashant said.
“At the end of the day, our goal is to not overwhelm the driver with too many options. This is why we created features like Back-to-Back Bookings and Auto-Accept.”
Grab currently operates in eight countries across South-East Asia, which are Cambodia, Indonesia, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam.