Grab Malaysia’s new tipping feature gets mixed reactions

  • TECH
  • Wednesday, 03 Apr 2019

FILE - In this March 26, 2018, file photo, passengers wait for Grab car outside a shopping man in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. Japan's top automaker Toyota Motor Corp. is investing $1 billion in Grab, the leading ride-hailing company in Southeast Asia, the company said Wednesday, June 13, 2018. (AP Photo/Vincent Thian, File)

Malaysians today responded to the news of Grab's new tipping feature with mixed feelings, with some expressing their displeasure on Facebook.

Facebook user Hiu Chee Keong felt that the feature would cause drivers to expect tips: "Bad idea, this make(s) driver(s) expect tips and make(s) those who don't give (tips) look bad." 

Another user, Jimmy Tan, commented on the increased Grab rates, saying: "(Grab) already increase rate (and) you expect (the) public to tip. The perk(s) of a market monopoly." 

Not all responses to the feature were quite so negative, with other Grab users chiming in that the feature is a good way to show appreciation to good drivers. 

Pujut Swk said praised the addition of a tipping option: "Good idea, some (drivers) deserve to get (tips)." 

Other users like Lee Jia En, a 21-year-old student, were a little more sanguine.

"It's a nice feature to add for passengers to show support to drivers, and it's great for instances if you inconvenienced your driver by doing something like spilling your drink in their car," she said.

Multimedia designer Jason Yeap said that he feels the feature being there would make drivers step up their game with passengers. 

"I'm not the type to tip, but I feel that the option to tip will motivate drivers to put in more effort because there's a way for riders to show appreciation to them," said the 21-year-old. 

Grab drivers also chimed in on the new tipping feature, revealing that some of them were already getting tips from their passengers.

The president of the Grab Drivers Malaysia Association, Arif Asyraf, said that the Grab app previously already had a tipping function, but it was then removed.

"Passengers were already able to give tips back in 2015, but Grab removed the feature," said the 36-year-old. 

Arif also acknowledged that not everyone will be willing to tip since that's not expected in Malaysian culture, but said that he has had foreign riders who wanted to tip him and that some locals would also tip by letting drivers keep the change. 

Student and part-time Grab driver Shahradzman Jalaluddin likes the addition of tipping in the app. 

"Before this I would get tips from passengers in cash, so it's a good idea for Grab to allow passengers to also tip via GrabPay," said the 22-year-old. 

Former Grab driver Adrin Shamsudin, 40, said that tipping is a nice-to-have feature and the tips were fixed at a good amount. 

The feature is currently available in the app after passengers give drivers a five-star rating, with tipping options fixed at RM2, RM4, or RM6. 

"Tipping is a good feature, before this passengers were already giving tips to drivers," he said, adding that the tipping amount set by Grab is about the typical amount he would receive from passengers. 

Arif also said that there is a possibility of Grab adding an option for the tip amount to be customisable, allowing for riders to give smaller or larger tips to their drivers. 

"The specified tipping amounts could act as a trial, if response from riders is good and they want to have an option to give customisable tips, I think Grab would allow for it later on."

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