GrabAssist is one of the many services types available on Grab's e-hailing platform. On its website, it claims all GrabAssist drivers have received in-person training to ensure their riders are comfortable from start to finish. Their training covers:
- Handling of folding wheelchairs, walkers, collapsible scooters, and other mobility devices.
- Helping people transfer between a wheelchair and the car
- Offering assistance to the elderly
- Sensitivity training
As a recipient of GrabAssist training and GrabAssist driver, we share with you on you shall not book GrabAssist.
1. Inadequate training
The training lasted one hour and a half at Grab's Sin Ming Office, and it was conducted by Homage. It consisted of 40 minutes of theory and 20-40 minutes of practical.
Practical training involving how to assist wheelchair users into the vehicle. The demonstration was done in the classroom without having to experience the space constraint of a car door opening at 70-80 degrees. Everything was made looked so easy when it was not.
Supporting a wheelchair user requires close body contact and usually involving hug the wheelchair user or pulling their pants to provide adequate support. We should leave the transferring to proper-trained personnel or family member. Without real-life practice, the drivers usually just watch, hold onto the wheelchair, and folded it into the boot. A JustGrab or taxi driver can do that too, why do you have to book GrabAssist?
2. Car height
Grab always gives you the surprise on the car model allocated to your booking. GrabAssist users usually hope to have a car model which has sliding doors (to eliminate the door opening space constraint) and thigh-level seats.
Imagine a Toyota Alphard is allocated, not only do you have to lift the wheelchair user off the wheelchair, you are required to lift the wheelchair user off the ground and place him/her onto the seat. Even with a low seat, you need to ensure the wheelchair user does not knock his head while getting into the car.
Traveling with a wheelchair user is already stressful, and you do not need any surprises from the car heights.
3. Long wait
Due to the difficulties of getting the passengers into the car, the drivers normally toggle off the option of accepting GrabAssist booking. This has resulted in the customers have to wait longer or are unable to get a GrabAssist vehicle
We cannot solely blame the drivers for the long wait. It is also because riders have booked GrabAssist and hoped for GrabAssist+ drivers to accept the jobs in order to get a "free upgrade", which resulted in GrabAssist+ drivers toggling off their GrabAssist option.
4. Only for normal wheelchair
GrabAssist vehicles are just normal cars with normal boots. Grabs just ensure the boot has sufficient space for a normal size wheelchair.
If you have a motorized wheelchair, electric scooter, or a wheelchair with non-removable head/neck support or non-removable elevated leg support, or even just a big wheelchair, you cannot use GrabAssist. We feel that there is a need for Grab to define the types of mobility devices that GrabAssist is able to support.
In conclusion, there is no difference between a taxi and a GrabAssist ride. The GrabAssist driver is not proper-trained to handle transferring the wheelchair user from wheelchair to car and vice versa.
If the wheelchair user requires assistance in standing up, a wheelchair transport service is highly recommended to experience a stress-free and safer ride.