Ride-hailers assist drivers with policies

July 31, 2021 | 14:00
Millions of ride-hailing and food delivery drivers are counting on meagre allowances to sustain their livelihoods amidst the pandemic in Ho Chi Minh City.
Ride-hailing drivers are seeing an increase in delivery orders, but much fewer people needing actual rides, Photo: Le Toan
Ride-hailing drivers are seeing an increase in delivery orders, but much fewer people needing actual rides. Photo: Le Toan

Since the metropolis suspended takeaway and ride-hailing services from July 9, many apps temporarily shut down ride-hailing and food delivery services for 15 days in line with Directive No.16/CT-TTg on the urgent solutions to prevention and fight against COVID -19.

Ride-hailing drivers are among 27,000 informal workers to get financial assistance from the city, with municipal authorities launching a second support package for people affected by the pandemic under Resolution No.09/2021/NQ-HDND.

It has been more than two weeks since the enforcement of the regulation and food delivery driver Le Van Duong has seen his main income wash away. He does not know how to manage living expenses but has received a small allowance from the ride-hailing firm to pay bills and buy food. He hopes that the upcoming assistance from the city will help him to overcome the current problems.

Meanwhile, GoJek driver Nguyen Van Tuan said that he has lost his income for 21 days while in a quarantine zone as an F1 case. The small financial support from the firm has helped him, but he hopes to recover soon.

A representative of GoJek VIR that since Directive 16 was enforced, GoJek has maintained GoFood and GoSend services in line with the local authorities’ guidance. It quickly unveiled a support policy to share difficulties with drivers who suffered reduced incomes during the period. everything, for each GoFood and GoSend order, the driver-partner will receive an additional VND5,000 (22 US cents) regardless of their operational performance.

At the same time, Gojek also offered some initiatives to assist drivers in the midst of soaring new infection cases. In particular, GoJek’s loyal and high-performance partners will receive a daily allowance of VND200,000 ($8.65) for up to 21 days if they have tested positive for coronavirus or are required to stay in a central quarantine. Other GoJek drivers will also receive an allowance of VND100,000 ($4.30) if they come into contact with coronavirus cases or have to enter quarantine centres.

He added that the initiatives are part of Gojek’s efforts to provide relief to driver-partners so that they can maintain operation and supply necessities to the community. With the support, GoJek will ensure a reasonable supply of drivers to meet the soaring needs of consumers for delivery and online food ordering.

“Gojek will continue to monitor the situation and look for new to support our partners, thereby contributing to facilitating a safer and more convenient life for people in Ho Chi Minh City,” he said. “We believe that with close coordination, we will soon overcome this difficult period.”

Meanwhile, ride-hailing firm Be Group also launched a new policy to ensure driver partners’ income during the pandemic. specifically, drivers who meet certain requirements of service quality with an average monthly income below VND5 million ($215) will receive a monthly allowance up to VND4 million ($175 ) per person.

Nguyen Viet Linh, director of Communications and Media at Be Group said that since Ho Chi Minh City suspended ride-hailing and food delivery partners, it has supported the ride-hailing drivers to switch to shippers to compensate for their reduced income. For those who become F0, F1, or F2 cases, the company also provides financial support up to VND3 million ($130) per person.

“With billions of VND for the relief policy, Be hopes to share difficulties with driver-partners during the tough time. With the allowance, drivers can take care of their basic needs and their families. In particular, Be also offers exclusive support for disadvantaged drivers,” Linh added.

Other apps such as Grab, Beamin, and Now also have similar initiatives to support their driver-partners. Grab said it is committed to launching programmes for driver-partners to mitigate the emerging impacts of COVID-19. A variety of measures are already in place, which includes financial support of VND2 million ($87) for any driver-partner who tested positive for COVID-19 and VND100,000 ($4.35) daily quarantine fee support for a maximum of 21 days. In addition, each partner who has to self-quarantine will be provided with VND500,000 ($22).

If the city continues to extend social distancing measures, a representative of Grab Vietnam explained, “Grab will guarantee that the GrabBenefits programme, which provides driver-partners with unique deals and offers, remains available as the pandemic situation continues.”

Grab recently announced a GrabForGood Fund with an initial fund size of $275 million to support programmes with lasting impacts to benefit communities across Southeast Asia. The first initiatives of the GrabForGood Fund aim to support its partners in countries with little or no national COVID-19 vaccination programmes. “Grab plans to allocate up to $20 million in cash under the fund to fully subsidise the cost of purchasing and administering COVID-19 vaccines to eligible driver-partners,” the representative added.

Likewise, Beamin provides financial support to infected drivers as well as those who are suspects of coronavirus infection with the allowance equaling half of their income. To take care of drivers, Now also grants drivers in quarantine zones an allowance equivalent to 30 days of their income.

Driver Nguyen Ngoc Tam said, “Technology drivers and shippers are at high risk of infections as we have to meet many customers every day. However, we don’t want to lose our main income at the moment so we will continue our work.”

During the social distancing period, drivers and partners play an important role to supply necessities and food to customers, especially those in quarantine zones. Therefore, Ho Chi Minh City Department of Transport proposes prioritising COVID-19 vaccinations for shippers in the next vaccination round to ensure delivery of goods in the city.

By Thanh Van

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