~ Auto Buzz ~: Earning Big? It is not so easy to earn from GrabCar and Uber nowadays

Saturday, 24 June 2017

Earning Big? It is not so easy to earn from GrabCar and Uber nowadays

WHEN the ride-sharing service providers Uber and Grabcar first surfaced in Malaysia, the idea of being able to earn a sizeable income without investing in new vehicles caught the imagination of many middle-income Malaysians.
Uber made its debut in Malaysia in January 2014 and is currently available in 12 cities, including Langkawi, Alor Star and Miri, which were recent additions.
Grabcar, previously known as Grabtaxi in June 2012, launched Grabcar soon after in July 2014 and boasts of 780,000 drivers operating in Southeast Asia.
Less than three years later, as the industry becomes more competitive, ride-sharing drivers are finding that it is getting harder to earn a decent income.

The father of three said with the increasing number of ride-sharing drivers, rising cost of fuel and the constant challenge of dealing with difficult passengers, he had to work longer hours throughout the week to make enough to support his family.Mohamad Syahrin Abdul Aziz from Setiawangsa, Kuala Lumpur, has been a full-time Uber and Grabcar driver for the past two years and earns a monthly gross income, ranging from RM3,000 to RM6,000.
“I have three children to feed. My eldest is taking her SPM this year, the youngest is UPSR and the middle is in Form Two.
“Nowadays, with so many drivers, you need to work hard, because you have to fight with the other drivers to get trips.”
The rising cost of petrol and toll has had an impact on earnings, too.
Syahrin, who also works as a part-time photographer, said: “If, for example, I get a request from Kuala Lumpur to Malacca, it’s only RM250 or RM300 a trip. Imagine, your petrol is already around RM100 and toll is RM50, so how can you survive?
“With petrol prices changing weekly, I only worry, because what if the petrol price increases? These ride-sharing services won’t change their fare just to cater for higher petrol price.”
Syahrin also has his share of bad passengers, who refused to pay and ran off after a trip, leaving him to bear the entire cost of the ride.
“I was cheated once. The passengers gave me a RM100 note for change and when I said I didn’t have any, they exited the vehicle on the pretext of getting change and never come back,” he said, sighing.
Uber and Grabcar passengers can pay either by card or cash, while drivers are paid weekly via bank transfers.
For Zaiton Alwi, 56, her Uber income is sufficient to support her and her husband, a pianist.
“If you work hard, you can earn and enjoy a good income. Like for me, I drive from 11am to 6pm and on Fridays, when the male drivers go for prayers, I can earn more then,” she said.
Lee Kah Hao has to weigh the pros and cons of being a Uber driver. – The Malaysian Insight pic by Kamal Ariffin, April 3, 2017.
Lee Kah Hao has to weigh the pros and cons of being a Uber driver. – The Malaysian Insight pic by Kamal Ariffin, April 3, 2017.
However, Zaiton admitted that driving has its risks and apart from occasionally being “cheated” by passengers, there are more reports of aggressive and angry taxi drivers lately.
“I’d been bullied by the taxi drivers before. Once, a taxi driver threw a tennis ball-like object at my car while I was picking up a passenger. My car wasn’t damaged but my passenger was startled. I just ignored them and carried on driving.”
While Zaiton is able to take the threats in her stride, other drivers find it a risk that they are not willing to take.
Newlywed Lee Kah Hao has only been working as a part-time Uber driver for a month and started out eager and confident that he would be able to make enough side income to start a family.
He registered when he decided that his work as a contractor for a telecommunications company, setting up towers and offering door-to-door electronic repair services, was not enough to support his family.
“I heard from my friend that an Uber driver can earn up to RM12,000 a month! I thought it was quite hilarious, actually,” Lee told The Malaysian Insight.
“Furthermore, Uber has flexible timing and I can choose when to work, I can go online any time.”
In his first month on the job, Lee made RM1,200 gross, almost half the RM2,600 he earned in his day job. The amount, he said, was more than enough to cover his household expenses, such as toll charges, dining out and so on.
However, while the extra money and flexible time are attractions, the 32-year-old soon abandoned the plan of being a full-time driver after weighing the dangers and risks.
“There are risks associated with this job (Uber driver). I’d just heard recently there was a protest by taxi drivers.
“The other day when I picked up someone from an LRT station, I felt afraid that I’d get beaten up by the taxi drivers waiting there.”
As part of its incentive scheme, Grabcar drivers are paid hourly if they fulfilled certain criteria like acceptance rate, hours online and number of trips within their core service areas. For Uber drivers, they need to go online and the app will automatically highlight the region with higher fares. – April 3, 2017.

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