Inexperienced drivers are totally reliant on their app’s GPS functions.
If you haven’t been driving much, it’s actually easy to lose your way around Singapore. We may not have many expressways, but it still takes a bit of time to memorise what their names are, which directions they can take us, and what other expressways are directly connected to them.
A newbie private-hire driver is going to rely solely on his app’s GPS function.
As I already mentioned in another story, car GPS systems aren’t foolproof.
A few weeks ago, while my car was in the worshop, I took a Grab home.
Out of curiosity, I glanced at the smartphone app, which was displaying the route the driver should take to my house.
He was following the directions, when suddenly, the app plotted another route. His reaction was to also suddenly indicate and filter into the non-turning lane.
That’s why you see private-hire cars being driven erratically.
And if the driver in question isn’t careful, he could end up colliding with another car in his haste to follow the app’s GPS.
These drivers need to perform as many jobs as possible because their incentives change by the hour.
One of our Torque-sters drove for Uber and Grab as part of his assignment.
We also know of another journalist (who has since left the industry), who worked as a private-hire driver for six months.
Both of them concluded that it was very tough to make money, and that realistically, one would need to drive at least 10 to 12 hours a day to turn a decent profit.
The only reason for this mad scramble is because driver incentives change hourly! With no way to calculate your pay and plan for your future, you have no choice but to maximise your time on the road, so that you can earn as much as possibly by performing as many jobs as you can.
So, it’s not surprising to see private-hire drivers driving their rented Toyota Priuses as if they were racecars, weaving in and out of traffic so that they can quickly take another booking.