Gruber has finally happened.
As of midnight last night, Uber’s ride-hailing service was no longer available in Singapore. This has been anticipated, and delayed multiple times, since Uber agreed to merge its regional service with Grab’s in a mega-deal revealed in March.
Users in the city-state who open the app are now faced with a map devoid of available Uber hires, and a message advising them to download Grab’s app.
The US company’s controversial tenure in Southeast Asia did not end with a whimper. There was a brief hiccup yesterday morning, when it mistakenly switched off the app earlier than planned, before activating it until the end of the day in line with the Competition and Consumer Commission of Singapore’s earlier decision.
One of the biggest plus-points of the deal for Grab is the acquisition of the regional arm of Uber’s food-delivery business, UberEats. As the US company exited the market yesterday, GrabFood went live in Malaysia and Singapore.
Gaining a foothold in these countries’ on-demand delivery segments could prove vital for Grab. Go-Jek – which rules the roost in its native Indonesia when it comes to ride hailing, food delivery, and other on-demand services – is plotting its expansion into neighboring markets. It has indicated it could launch in Singapore, Vietnam, and the Philippines later this year.
Grab also announced three new ride-hailing options in Singapore yesterday, each aimed at catering to specific demographics:
- GrabAssist is a specialized service for users with disabilities. GrabAssist cars have enough space inside for things like wheelchairs and walking frames. The service’s 1,000 drivers also have training from the Agency for Integrated Care to provide appropriate assistance to passengers – such as helping them get in and out of cars – and to teach them about dementia awareness, how to deal with medical emergencies, and so on. Grab said that GrabAssist is priced “marginally higher” than its standard JustGrab hailing service. The company also charges drivers a lower commission rate of 10 percent, which takes into account the time and effort spent on additional training and supporting passengers with disabilities.
- GrabCar Plus is a “premium economy” option that will offer rides in newer and more spacious cars than is the norm, with drivers that have achived 98 percnet-plus positive feedback from Grab cusotmers. GrabCar Plus rides will also include “basic in-car amenities” including mobile phone chargers, air freshener, and tissue boxes. The new service will place between JustGrab and GrabCar Premium, Grab’s top-end option, in terms of price.
- GrabFamily (ages 1-3) is a variation on the earlier launched GrabFamily (ages 4-7). Vehicles will be equipped with an IMMI Go car seat for families with toddlers in tow. Notably, Grab said that it invites all former drivers who participated in Uber’s Uber Car Seat service to sign up for GrabFamily (ages 1-3) for additional income opportunities, and added that the feature will be similarly priced to Uber’s now-defunct offering.
This is a developing story. Check back for updates.
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