Driving a GrabCar gives me time to bond with my kids.
Polly Yap, 44, used to be a head honcho in the corporate world, but is now happy driving a GrabCar as it helps her bond with her children.
I used to be general manager in MNCs locally and overseas, and I worked long hours. But I came back to Singapore last year after a three-year assignment in Shanghai, and took a year off work. I wanted to take care of my brother who had cancer. Thankfully, he is now well.
After he recovered in April 2016, I started driving with Grab when another brother, a taxi driver, suggested I take it up. I think he brought it up as a dare but he should know I really love a challenge!
I had offers to go back to what I was doing before, travelling the world and running a company. I declined them as I wanted to spend more time with my family especially with my children, who are young adults now. Being a Grab driver fit perfectly with this goal – the job gives me the time and flexibility to be there for them.
For example, one of my them is currently doing her medical residency and she is assigned to work in different hospitals every few months. Her shift hours are very long and she can start work really early. I now can drive her to or from work and this allows us to have meaningful conversations. If she is too tired, she can have some extra time to rest in the car. My eldest is serving National Service – I can do the same for him, bringing him to and from camp.
On the days when they are both free, we can go out for meals together. This is something I have missed during their growing-up years, when I was busy climbing the corporate ladder. Those days, I couldn’t really talk to them in person – we relied on Skype!
Still, perhaps it is because of my perfectionist personality or my background as a management person, I treat my Grab career very seriously. I have set myself a target and I aim to earn at least $6,000 per month, after taking into consideration fuel costs and miscellaneous driving expenses. I drive my own car, a Toyota Harrier.
“Happily, I’ve been able hit my target each month and this motivates me to do better.”
Knowing what works for you
On weekdays, I start driving at 5am, sometimes at 6am. I would end my first shift at about 10am. I always make sure I drive during the morning and evening peak hours as there are more people who are looking for a GrabCar and there are also incentives to reap. I take a rest after my morning shift and start again between 3pm and 4pm. I usually end at 8pm but if I still have passengers or if I’m not tired, I continue till about 10pm.
On weekends, I drive half day, usually in the mornings, ending at 2pm or 3pm. Actually, Saturday evening is a good time to earn more, but I usually have gatherings with my friends and I think spending time with them is more important. I also need to take a break!
I’ve met a lot of great passengers and some of them have become friends. Perhaps it is because I’m a woman driver and I’m friendly, many people open up to me. I’ve had people telling me about their problems, such as divorces or career issues, and asking me for advice. If it is something I have gone through, I would share my own experience with them and give some tips. I’m glad I can help people in this way, even if, at times, it’s just providing a listening ear.
In my opinion, there is no real secret to getting and maintaining a high rating. My current rating is 4.83, and I believe my competitive edge is in providing good service. This includes smiling at passengers, greeting them as they enter the car, letting them know early if anything on the route changes and in general, just being polite. Do a little bit better each day and soon enough, giving good service will be second nature.
– Polly Yap, 44, Former GM of Sales.
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