In case you’ve been sleeping for the past few days, it’s official.
So what happened? How did rumours and speculations become fact so fast? What drove Uber out of Singapore?
Within this saga is a lot of juicy and exciting details that every Singaporean wants to know.
Here are 9 facts about the Uber-Grab deal that Singaporeans are really curious about, explained.
How did it all start?
Uber reported losses of USD$4.5 billion in 2017, with Southeast Asia region suffering from the most losses.
They received a cash injection from SoftBank, making them the largest stakeholder in Uber.
Softbank is a Japanese group with stakes in Singapore-based Grab and wants Uber to get out of Asia and concentrate on growing in the United States, Europe, Latin America and Australia instead.
SoftBank has also invested in China ride-hailing app Didi, India’s Ola, all of which are Uber’s rivals.
Uber Selling to Grab Was A Roller Coaster Ride For S’poreans
Never can you find a more controversial saga than the Uber-Grab deal, at least in recent times lah.
So then, everyone was wondering if Uber is really selling to Grab in exchange for stakes in the company.
Uber sold 51% of its car rental fleet to ComfortDelgro.
CNBC reported that sources familiar with the deal said that it might be a possibility back in Feb 2018.
However, spokesperson for both companies dismiss the rumours as speculations.
Then Uber tied up with ComfortDelgro to offer UberFLASH.
And if that’s not enough, Uber CEO, Mr Khosrowshahi, said on his first official visit to India that Uber is prepared to invest more aggressively in Southeast Asia. Okay, seems like Uber is really into this market, as on 15 March 2018, just about two weeks ago, Uber Commute was launched.
Then Grab announced that they’ve taken over Uber’s assets in Singapore, Malaysia, Cambodia, Indonesia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Thailand and Vietnam.
And as you can imagine, the announcement created quite a bit of an uproar.
Uber App to Cease Operation on 8 Apr
If you don’t know yet, Uber will stop working on 8 Apr.
If you have an existing Uber account, an email asking you to download the Grab app would’ve been sent to your email.
And if you haven’t used Grab before, there’s even a promo code for you to start your Grab journey with.
However, they did ask you to keep the Uber app as you can use it for Uber rides overseas.
So don’t be surprised if your Uber app keeps updating regularly.
Uber Employees Allegedly Told To Evacuate Building Within Two Hours
Here’s the TL; DR of the entire situation.
Grab buy Uber. Uber staff comes to work on Monday morning. Allegedly told to pack up and evacuate the building within 2 hours.
Nobody from Grab contacted the Uber employees and they were told that they’re free to look for another job.
Grab came swooping in like VR man
Now, before you get all self-righteous about it, there’s more.
Grab came swooping in like VR Man
And clarified that the Uber employees are not unemployed, they’re on paid leave.
Grab promised that they’ll employ the 500+ Uber employees that were left jobless overnight, and they’ll be working hard to find similar positions in their organisation for them.
And the reason why they did not contact the Uber staff beforehand?
They don’t have the “email addresses of the Uber employees” yet.
So, yes, Uber employees are saved. But there’s another group of Uber employees left half-here, half-there.
Many Uber Drivers Left in Confusion And Worries
If you were to name any group of Uber employees as worst affected, it’ll probably be the drivers.
Lion City Rental closed down temporarily suddenly.
But rental charges still going on as per normal.
Those who rented from Lion City Rental signed a contract which prohibits them from driving for any other private-hire platforms except Uber.
Thankfully, it was reported on 27 Mar that Grab had announced that any driver who rent from Lion City Rental can drive for Grab.
But drivers who previously drove for Grab and banned would be left in limbo: They can appeal to Grab, and the appeal would be reviewed on a case-by-case basis.
In other words, Uber drivers who rented the car beyond 8 April 2018, and are banned from Grab, would face a dreadful situation: renting a car that cannot be driven for private hire.
ComfortDelgro Sends Message Out, Telling Cabbies To Delete Uber Driver App
UberFLASH is dead. There’s no other way to say it.
On 27 Mar, ComfortDelgro sent a message out to their cabbies:
In case you can’t read it, here’s what it says:
Dear Cabbies, UberFLASH will cease operation on 8 April 2018. You may delete the Uber Driver app anytime now since it will no longer be in use. ComfortDelGro will continue to provide you with booking jobs on the App and the MDT. We thank you for your continuous support. From CDG.
This comes in just a few days after they forced Grab to remove ComfortDelGro taxis from their flat fare service, JustGrab.
The irony? Check out Uber’s Facebook Page.
Yeah, the first pinned post is still about UberFLASH.
It’s indeed a flash, man: come like a flash, gone in a flash.
Uber EATS Becomes GrabFood
Remember when we said that Uber operations and assets are sold to Grab? That includes Uber EATS.
The Uber EATS staff has been transferred over to Grab.
And Grab will be providing a food delivery service named GrabFood, which they’ll be introducing in both Malaysia and Singapore.
The UberEATS app will stop working in May 2018 and existing users will have to transfer themselves over to the new GrabFood app.
It’s said that prices of food options on GrabFood will remain the same as UberEATS, with delivery islandwide.
So that means McDonald’s just just has a divorce with Uber and married Grab.
S’pore Regulators Preparing To Step In
I’m pretty sure most, if not all Singaporeans were wondering what the authorities are thinking. Isn’t that the same as a monopoly?
Well, it turns out there’s a reason for it.
Singapore’s very own competition watchdog, the Competition Commission of Singapore (CCS) has finally spoken up.
When Grab and Uber announced the merger, CCS was triggered.
On the same day, they said that they were not officially notified about the merger and is asking both companies for clarification.
If they view the merger as a partnership that’ll “substantially lessen competition within the industry” (read: create a monopoly or lesser competition), they’ll take action immediately.
They have the power to change the terms of the merger or stop it from taking place.
What Would Happen in the Future?
Now that the facts about what happened now is clear, here’s a peek into the future. At least, into a projected future.
Grab has mentioned that fares wouldn’t change, but read on.
This kind of situation happened in China as well, in which Didi, much like Grab in Singapore, bought over Uber’s operations in China.
One year later, according to a Quartz article, this happened:
- 81.7% people who were surveyed said it is more difficult to book a ride
- 86.6% said it is more expensive
The speculations were that bonuses (or what is known as incentives in Singapore) to drivers were slashed, and discounts to riders were also cut down.
Although to be fair, there were new regulations in certain cities that might have contributed to it, but meh – we all know what a monopoly looks like.
Let’s just say that days of ride-hailing companies losing billions of dollars just so that we consumers can have cheap rides might be over.
Back to public transport, my friend.
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This article was first published on goodyfeed.com
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Featured Image: Filipe Frazao / Shutterstock.com
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