A photo of a lounge for ride-hailing drivers at a mall being occupied by mall-goers is circulating online.
Called “Rider’s Lounge,” these spaces can be found in selected SM malls as dedicated rest stops for delivery riders.
In one branch, however, the lounge could be seen being used by its customers and not the riders or drivers.
One rider could also be seen standing outside the lounge instead of enjoying the Rider’s lounge.
This situation was captured and circulated on various social media platforms.
A Facebook page that shared the snapshot remarked that the driver was the one who gave his spot to mall-goers.
“Si Kuya Rider na ‘yung nag-adjust, nakakahiya kasi sa kanila,” the post reads.
The post garnered 7,200 reactions and 899 shares on the platform so far.
Grab Philippines, a popular ride-hailing firm, later saw one of the users who shared this photo.
In a post on January 23, it asked the public to save delivery personnel a seat in these waiting lounges.
“We are thankful for our hardworking Ate and Kuya Grab partners, kaya sila naman ang suportahan natin! As a small act of kindness, let’s save them a seat before they get back to a busy day,” the post reads.
The Rider’s Lounge is an initiative of SM Supermalls for delivery riders who are frontliners amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
It is also a way for the shopping giant to way to help alleviate the stress of the riders and pay tribute for their hard work.
Need for benches, parks
The lounge issue later reached the online forum r/Philippines where Redditors discussed the reasons why customers flocked the Rider’s Lounge.
Some of them pointed out the lack of benches, seats and areas for resting in several shopping centers today.
“Almost makes you wonder why in the past, there used to be free places with benches and tables where people can just sit and relax after walking in the mall but now, those free benches and tables disappeared,” one Reddit user said.
“The only tambayan they can loiter in would require them to spend, and they probably didn’t want to… or don’t have the means to,” another said.
“Wala ka halos maupuan para mapilitan kang umupo at kumain sa mga dining establishments inside the mall. Kaya yung mga mall goers tuloy nagpapasaway at umuupo sa rider’s lounge. Kaya hindi na ideal sa ‘kin mag-mall as relaxation e,” another Reddit user commented.
Others also criticized the lack of public parks and other recreational areas for people to relax without spending money.
“Malls were deliberately designed to make you spend money. If you want to relax in public there are parks. Kaso nga walang pondo para sa parks, o kahit man lang public benches,” one user said.
“This is exactly why we need more parks and not more malls. For people to sit or even relax freely. Malls are for commercial purposes, but sadly we don’t have a LOT of open green spaces where we can just chill and not spend any money, or too much money,” another user commented.
The lack of public parks and other green spaces in Metro Manila has been among the major subjects of concern that advocates raised in recent years.
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