Gojek driver on road for 22 hours in a day to win staycation: Is it safe for him and his passengers?

Submitted by Stomper Sebastian

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The prize was a two-day-one-night stay at Hotel Ora at Resorts World Sentosa.

A privately organised competition was held on Nov 18 to find the private-hire vehicle (PHV) driver who can earn the most in 24 hours.

The winner was announced on Nov 19 to be a Gojek driver named James Lim who earned $1,017 after being on the road for 22 hours.

Stomper Sebastian questioned whether this is safe.

"Why was this even allowed in the first place?" asked the Stomper.

"Doesn’t the app detect the number of hours online and forces the drivers to go offline and take a break? How does the app and company allow the drivers to get away with working 22 hours within a day?

"Are the drivers speeding the entire day just to complete as many jobs as possible? Why doesn't the app track if the drivers are speeding?"

Organised by a PHV driver named Shawn Lee, the contest called 4sMission500 was posted in a Facebook group called Professional PHV Drivers Singapore: Grab, Gojek, Tada n Ryde.

The companies are not involved in the competition.

Mr Lee wrote in his Facebook post: "Objective is to motivate each other to breakthrough what you usually did. If you never try, you will never know you can actually do better. Beside that I always encourage work-life balance. This prize is for you to go enjoy and relax yourself with your family, kids (school holiday) or loved one."

Three of the top 10 earners were with Gojek. The rest were Grab drivers.

The Stomper asked: "Ain’t the safety of the passengers who are picked up by drivers in these competition compromised?

"What happens if there was an accident during this competition? Is the organiser stepping in and forking up any incurred compensations? Or are the companies still liable?"

In response to a Stomp query, a Gojek spokesperson said: "Safety is a top priority for us and we do not encourage driver-partners to drive for long hours without taking sufficient breaks.

"Getting adequate rest is a crucial part of driving safely, and we have several initiatives in place to ensure our driver-partners are aware of safe driving practices."

To encourage drivers to get sufficient rest, Gojek introduced a feature on its iOS driver app to regularly remind drivers to take a break or go offline after they have been online for a certain number of hours.

"We will also continue exploring new ways to further encourage safe driving practices, in line with our commitment to keeping driver-partners and customers safe on the roads," said the spokesperson.

Similarly with Grab, its driver app has a “fatigue nudges” safety feature to reminds drivers to take a break when they’ve been driving for long hours.

During a drive, the app also collects mobile sensor data, such as accelerator, gyroscope, and GPS data from mobile devices. This information lets vehicle telematics detect driving habits such as harsh braking, acceleration, cornering, and unsafe lane changes.

Ministry of Manpower guidelines on preventing fatigue among drivers include recommendations to limit shifts to no more than 12 hours including overtime, and scheduled breaks such as 15 minutes for every two hours on the road.

Mr Lee told The Straits Times said he was “shocked” when he saw the winner's 22 hours.

“But I didn’t expect someone would 'chiong' (Hokkien for 'go all out') to break their own record by doing that high,” he said.

Mr Lee acknowledged that he should have set a cap on the number of hours for participants of his "mission".