Ride-share passengers across Vietnam are finding it difficult to travel as rising gas prices lead to higher fares, lower earnings, and job dissatisfaction for drivers.
When Quang Nghia first started driving full time for Grab, he would end the day with about VND200,000 (US$8.61) in profit.
That amount has since fallen by half due to skyrocketing gas prices.
Ride-share partners like Nghia now say high gas prices make trips “not worth it” and claim that commissions are “exploitative” and customers are “vanishing.”
Though fares have increased, the commission taken by the apps per ride – about 30 percent – has remained the same, meaning profits are soaring for app owners while drivers are seeing minimal aid as they attempt to cope with added operating costs.
For example, if a fare increases by VND1,000 ($0.043), the app owners enjoy an additional VND300 even though the gas price surge does not directly affect their wallets.
The heavy monsoon rains, which have inundated streets and worsened traffic jams since May, only add to the misery.
This perfect storm of discontent has led to drivers calling for a nationwide boycott of rideshare apps until commission rates are adjusted.
“Many Grab drivers have quit because they are discouraged by soaring fuel prices,” said Nghia.
As a result, passengers complain that getting a ride is an exercise in frustration.
The combination of difficulties booking a trip and higher fares are turning many away.
“Though passengers pay more, drivers earn less and some even suffer losses because the increased fare is not enough to compensate for soaring fuel costs,” said one driver.
“Eventually, the number of passengers will decrease.”
In response to Tuoi Tre (Youth) newspaper’s request for comments on the issue, representatives of Grab, Gojek, and Be Group – three major ride-sharing app operators in Vietnam, said they acknowledge the adverse impacts of rising fuel prices on drivers.
However, Grab and Be Group declined to comment on drivers’ call for lower commission rates while Gojek just mentioned its already-existing GoCaptain program as the only way of support for drivers at the moment.