A Grab driver recently engaged in an argument with his female passenger for more than four minutes after she asked him to take a detour which would exempt her from paying ERP charges.
Their altercation was captured in a video which was uploaded to Singapore Incidents' Facebook page on May 21.
Passenger wants to choose a non-ERP route, driver refuses
At the beginning of the video, the driver could be heard explaining in detail why only Grab drivers, and not passengers, can select the route for the ride:
"If you are riding a taxi, you can select your route, because taxis charge by metre. However, if you are taking Grab [where fares were fixed], you cannot pick the route; only the drivers can."
However, the explanation didn't seem to satisfy the passenger, who replied agitatedly that she would raise the issue with Grab.
Undeterred, the driver said she could go ahead with the complaint and offered to drop her off at a nearby bus stop if she was unhappy.
"We don't have to argue. Why would I want to argue with you? You want to save S$1 or S$2, but who can I claim for my time loss, sister?" the driver said, reiterating that taking the Ayer Rajah Expressway would be the faster route.
The passenger agreed to the driver's suggestion to drop her off at a nearby bus stop but said she didn't appreciate the way he handled her request.
Apparently angered by the response, the driver clapped back by calling the passenger a "cheapo" and commented that she should not order private-hailing services if she couldn't afford to pay for ERP charges.
When asked why he called her a "cheapo," the driver said that the passenger should have woken up earlier and taken the MRT instead of troubling him to take a longer detour just so she could fork out less for her ride.
"If you cannot afford, don't take taxi," the driver told the passenger.
The passenger then questioned why the driver was so unwilling to take the detour, which would only take six more minutes than the route he picked.
Annoyed by the prolonged argument, the driver went on a long rant, starting by telling the passenger that she should let out her frustration at the policy at the authorities rather than the drivers.
At one point, the driver told the passenger:
"I am driving you. Your life is in my hands, sister. Are you OK? If I drove into a tree right now, you would die. Your life is in my hands."
The video ended shortly after the driver and the passenger agreed to end the unpleasant ride by dropping the latter off at a nearby bus stop.
Transcript of the convo
A slightly condensed transcript of the conversation between the driver and the passenger in Mandarin can be found below:
Driver: If you are riding a taxi, you can select your route, because taxis charge by metre. However, if you are taking Grab, you cannot pick the route; only the drivers can.
Passenger: Everything you say now is useless. If you really cannot change the route, I am already riding on your car, so I will complain to Grab.
Driver: You cannot select your route, sister. Go ahead and complain. If you are unhappy, I can drop you off at the bus stop. We don't need to argue. Why should I argue with you? You want to save S$1 or S$2, but who do I claim the wasted time from, sister? Taking AYE is the fastest route.
Passenger: Drop me off at the bus stop. I am not happy with the way you [handle my request].
Driver: Ok lor. Where got people cheapo like you? If you cannot pay for [ERP], then you shouldn't call a taxi.
Passenger: I am not happy that you are cursing at passengers like this.
Driver: I am not cursing at you. I am conversing with you.
Passenger: [Then why you call me] cheapo?
Driver: If you want to save on ERP charge, you are a cheapo mah! If you want to save money, you can wake up early and take the MRT. If you want to save money, that's alright, but you shouldn't cause troubles to others. You had wasted my time.
Passenger: You cannot even wait for six minutes, is it? You have to argue with me over this?
Driver: I am not arguing with you. I am explaining [my stance] to you. You can call LTA. [They would tell you that it is us] drivers that pick the route, not you. You should understand the law first before arguing with others. If you cannot afford ERP, I can help you pay for it. All you need to say is you cannot afford it.
Passenger: Who told you I cannot afford it? Why are you arguing with me about this?
Driver: I can pay for you. Walau eh! Why did you quarrel with me? Now that you said you couldn't afford it, I will pay for you. I am the bigger person here. I will pay for you, sister.
Walau eh! You [are stingy to the extent] that you would argue with your driver. How can you grow into such a person? Arguments aren't necessary. You should just pay the ERP.
If you are going to a place that requires you to pay for ERP, you just need to accept it. Otherwise, you should complain to Lee Hsien Loong or curse at him.
Why are you taking out your frustration at the drivers? I am driving you. Your life is in my hands leh, sister. Are you OK? If I drove into a tree right now, you would die. Your life is in my hands. Don't implicate others when you speak.
If you want to save on ERP, you just wake up early so you have more travel time. Otherwise, you should take a taxi. Don't need to argue over this matter. If you decide to take a Grab, then you should not try to choose the route. I have already explained [the policy] to you. Feel free to contact LTA and ask about it too. I am working, and you are distrubing me. Can I go upstairs later, talk to your boss, and disturb you? Will you be happy?
Driver: I will report to the police now.
Passenger: Last time, I also called a Grab. I discussed the route with the driver, and he agreed to take Stevens Road [which would not incur] ERP charges. You insisted on picking the route that could save you six minutes.
Driver: I for sure will pick the fastest route. Who do you think you are? You think you are my mother [and I have to concede to your request to] save on ERP?
None of my previous guests were like you. You are the first to behave this way. I didn't give you a long face. You wanted to onboard at a bus stop. You couldn't get on a car at a bus stop. I had to make a U-turn. You didn't even know that you couldn't get on a car at a bus stop, and you still stood in the middle of it. Walau eh! I had to cross double yellow line to allow you to get on my car.
You don't need to quarrel with me so much anymore. I will just drop you off over there. If you cannot pay for ERP, I will help you pay.
I will go upstairs and talk to your boss. You disturb my work, so I will disturb yours.
Statement from Grab
In response to Mothership's queries, a Grab spokesperson confirmed that Grab drivers have the right to take the fastest or shortest route available as recommended by the GPS for fixed-fare rides.
If a passenger has a preferred route, they are encouraged to discuss it with the driver before the ride starts so that he can decide the final route at his discretion.
"That being said, we wish to remind our driver-partners and passengers alike to treat each other with respect in all their interactions," the spokesperson added.
Both parties can also contact Grab if they require assistance at any point in time, the statement said.