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'He kept scolding me': Grab driver calls police after passenger swears at him for refusing to take longer route

 'He kept scolding me': Grab driver calls police after passenger swears at him for refusing to take longer route
Grab driver Wu said he was forced to call the police after a passenger verbally abused him.
PHOTO: Shin Min Daily News

A Grab driver was forced to call the police on a verbally abusive passenger, who swore at him for refusing to take a longer route to his destination. 

The driver, surnamed Wu, told Shin Min Daily News that he picked up the male passenger from Block 626 Ang Mo Kio Avenue 4 at about 8am on June 7. He had booked a ride to the  SP Group building in MacPherson. 

When the man boarded, he requested that Wu drive to his destination by going past Bishan, Braddell and Serangoon — a different route from what the GPS suggested. 

"The original route was to go by CTE. My guess is that he wanted to avoid the ERP charges. But he suggested a roundabout route, which would take an extra 10 minutes," said the 52-year-old driver.

ERP rates along the CTE from 8am to 9am range from $4.50 to $5. 

Since he became a private-hire driver in 2016, Wu said he would try to help passengers avoid ERP costs if possible. 

"I'll help whenever I can, but I found his request too unreasonable, so I refused." 

When Wu informed the passenger that the route he wanted was too long, the latter told him it "didn't matter" and that he wanted to "kill time". 

"[But] for us drivers, time is money. I felt that his request was unreasonable, so I asked him to cancel the ride. I had driven about 1km [away from the pickup point] and wanted to let him alight, but he suddenly swore at me," Wu said. 

To avoid the situation from escalating, Wu called Grab for assistance and asked the agent to cancel the ride. 

"He refused to get out of the car and kept scolding me, saying that the customer is always right and they have the right to choose the route. 

"Because the situation became a stalemate, I had to call the police to resolve the issue." 

Man also chided customer service agent 

While waiting for the police to arrive, Wu claimed that the passenger also called Grab's customer service and verbally abused the agent. 

According to a voice recording by Wu, the man claimed that neither he nor Wu could cancel the ride.

He then asked the customer service agent for help, but got increasingly agitated and started using vulgarities. He also accused Wu of wasting his time. 

"The entire episode took about half an hour. The police eventually came and mediated, and I left after the officers took my statement," said Wu. 

The police confirmed to Shin Min that they received a report.

After the incident, Wu said the passenger gave him a one-star rating on the Grab app, which caused his overall five-star rating to drop to 4.96. 

"It's very unfair for us drivers. If I want to get a five-star rating again, it'll take at least three months and I'll need more than 100 passengers to give me a five-star rating." 

As part of Grab's code of conduct, drivers are advised to agree on the route with the passenger before driving off. Changing of routes without the passenger's permission is considered an infringement of the code of conduct. 

For fixed-fare rides, the driver has the right to take the fastest or shortest route available as recommended by a GPS. 

AsiaOne has contacted Grab for more information. 

READ ALSO: 'Go take MRT': Grab driver threatens to kick passenger off ride after she asks to choose route

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