Jayanty Nada Shofa, Jakarta – It has been a few years since Hamka Didit Ardiansyah – a driver-partner for a ride-hailing firm Grab – accepted his first trip.
Hamka once worked for a company before driving passengers around Makassar for a living. The company's performance, however, began to decline and this took a toll on his salary. With a family to feed, Hamka decided to resign. Since then, he would jump from job to job, but nothing was good enough.
In 2017, Grab was trying to get as many people to join as a driver-partner, and so Hamka did.
"I was using my in-law's car for two months when I first joined Grab. When I found out the income was promising, I braced myself to use my own car," Hamka said in a press release.
The father of two admitted to have earned up to Rp 10 million ($700) a month. This was a huge leap from the Rp 3 million salary at his former company. The high income also boosted his confidence to take on a four-year loan for a car.
Every month, Hamka has to pay around Rp 3.8 million for his car installments. With his car loans close to being paid off, Hamka plans to purchase a home with a similar installment plan.
Joni – a GrabBike driver in Surabaya – said it was easier to make ends meet after joining Grab. He was able to earn up to Rp 500,000 a day and could complete 28 trips depending on the distance.
"This is the opposite of when I was a factory worker. At the time, I had to borrow from other people. But as a GrabBike driver, I never have to borrow money from others and I always pay for my children's tuition on time," the father of three said.
According to Joni, Grab facilitates him and his family access to the government's social security program BPJS. He also finds Grab Mitra Sejahtera – the driver-partner welfare program – to be helpful. The program covers education, health services, financial services, social welfare facilities among others.
"This is really helpful for us," Joni said.
A 2020 study by think-tanks Tenggara Statistics and Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) revealed Grab improves the access to financial inclusion for its partners. The survey included 5,008 partners of GrabBike, GrabBike, GrabFood, and GrabKios across 12 major cities.
"As many as 19 percent of GrabBike and 12 percent of GrabCar driver-partners opened their very first bank account when they joined Grab," the report wrote.
About 75 percent GrabBike partners reported to regularly save Rp 890,000 a month. Whilst 69 percent of GrabCar partners saved up to Rp 1.4 million monthly.
The report also wrote being a Grab driver-partner helped increase their credibility in the lender's eyes. Around 46 percent of GrabBike partners and 34 percent GrabCar partners reported to have easier access to loans since joining the platform. This helps them buy durable goods in installments, particularly for their first motorcycle or car.