Grab, Uber drivers protest in Hanoi after ride-hailing firms jack up commission

By Thanh Nga, Anh Tu   January 15, 2018 | 02:51 am PT
Grab, Uber drivers protest in Hanoi after ride-hailing firms jack up commission
Uber drivers protest outside the company's office in Hanoi. Photo by VnExpress/Anh Tu
Drivers worry that the new commision could cost them their vehicles, which they had bought using borrowed money. 

Grab and Uber drivers staged protests outside the ride-hailing companies' offices in Hanoi on Monday morning, claiming the commission they have to pay is too high.

More than 100 Grab car and motorbike drivers turned off their apps and gathered outside the company’s headquarters on Duy Tan Street for hours.

The company recently raised the cut it takes from drivers from 20 to 25 percent of their fares.

Drivers now actually have to pay 28.36 percent of their fares if VAT and income tax are included.

Uber has also increased its cut to 29.5 percent, including taxes, prompting a similar protest in the afternoon on Van Phuc Street.

Luu Quang Quan, a Grab driver, said he earns around VND1 million ($44) a day from driving for 12-13 hours.

“If I lose more money, I won’t have enough to live on,” he said.

He and his colleagues want the company to bring its cut down to 15 percent.

Drivers said they are not consulted about rate increases.

Driver Le Trong Van said he and many others had borrowed money to buy cars they are still paying interest on.

“With such a high share, it will be very hard for us to pay the debt and we could lose our cars,” he said.

Grab Vietnam said it will discuss the matter with the drivers on Thursday, while Uber has not commented on the matter.

Grab and Uber arrived in Vietnam in 2014 and operate both car and motorbike taxi services. The two services have been running on a trial basis since early 2016 and will be officially authorized soon, according to a proposal made by the transport ministry earlier this month.

Drivers from the phone-based services are often caught up in turf wars with traditional drivers that sometimes become violent.

The protests on Monday indicate that high-tech drivers may not be enjoying such an easy ride.

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