Grab to deploy ‘holiday fleet’


MANILA  -Super app operator Grab Philippines is in talks with regulatory agencies to increase the number of its partner-drivers between 10,000 to 20,000 this holiday season to address the projected spike in demand, particularly from tourists and home-bound overseas Filipino workers.

Grace Vera-Cruz, country head of the dominant ride-hailing service provider, told reporters in a recent interview they were planning to deploy  a “holiday fleet”, comprising temporary partner-drivers to augment the supply during Christmas.

She said Grab was coordinating with the Department of Transportation and Land Transportation and Franchising Regulatory Board to determine how many more partner-drivers should be given slots in the meantime.

Grab is hoping to finalize the plan by November amid the expected pickup in ride-hailing service demand.

Christmas rush

Ronald Roda, Grab senior director for strategy and operations, previously said that passengers usually have three out of 10 chances of successfully booking a ride during the Christmas rush.

“We’ve been working on this since July. We really want to deliver a good customer experience,” Vera-Cruz said.

Currently, the country head said they have between 20,000 to 30,000 drivers. The number is below the 65,000 it had prior to the pandemic.

READ:  Grab PH seeks 20,000 additional driver slots

Roda said about two-thirds of their fleet quit from the platform during the pandemic when mobility was heavily curtailed. At that time, several cars were also repossessed due to financial challenges, he said.

Grab has since been onboarding more driver-partners along with the resurgence of mobility.

Provincial network

This October, the ride-hailing company is set to launch its Davao operations with 250 driver-partners. It is targeting to increase the slots to 1,500 eventually.

Grab launched its services in Iloilo in March. Moving forward, it is also keen on establishing presence in Pampanga, Albay, Camarines Sur and Bacolod.

READ: Grab beefs up provincial network as demand rises

The super app operator is set to launch the Hotspot Navigation feature this year, which will enable drivers to identify areas with high demand for ride-hailing bookings in real time. It is designed to improve the earning capability of the company’s driver-partners.

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The local ride-hailing market has been dominated by Grab after it bought competitor Uber in 2018. However, two players—low-cost carrier AirAsia Philippines and California-based ride-hailing company InDrive—are now trying to break into the sector as they request for licenses to operate.

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