Okay, so Grab has bought over Uber's operations in Southeast Asia, which leaves the former as the sole ride-hailing operator in Singapore (but not for long; more on that in a bit). Uber, in return, has a 27.5 per cent stake in Grab. It sounds like a win-win situation for bitter rivals. But, to borrow the words of Pink, what about us?
#1: Will prices increase? Is this the end of the wonderful deluge of discount codes?
For the past few months, Grab and Uber users have been spoilt rotten by the avalanche of promo codes that the two ride-hailing operators have been generously dishing out, thanks to fierce price wars. Grab has stated that fare structures will not change with the acquisition, and drivers’ earnings will not be affected as well, and maintains that the merger will lead to shorter wait times and faster pick-ups. Authorities have also said that they’re keeping a close eye on the sitch to keep the company in check. We’re just hoping it won’t be a rehash of what happened in China, when Uber was bought over by Chinese transport company Didi Chuxing, which incidentally, is among the lead investors in Grab as well.
But hang on, there’s a plot twist! These price wars may not be over just yet. Local carpooling app Ryde announced just days after news of the Grab-Uber merger broke that it will soon launch a private-car hailing service called RydeX. Details are scant at the moment, but will this David vs Goliath battle benefit riders (once more)? Only time will tell.
#2: This is depressing. Should I just delete my Uber app already?
Not just yet. But you ought to download the Grab app by Apr 8 — that’s when Uber will halt its ride-hailing services in Southeast Asia. Uber for Business accounts will also no longer be valid for rides in Southeast Asia. Your personal Uber account will still remain active, so if you Uber outside of Southeast Asia on your travels, you’d wanna keep the app on your phone.
#3: What’s the deal with UberEats? I need my food delivery or I will die!
Eats gonna be alright. Grab will launch its food-delivery platform GrabFood in May, where UberEats restaurants will migrate over to the new app. Meanwhile, UberEats to your hearts’ content until the end of May, when the app ceases operations.
#4: I’m subscribed to the Lazada LiveUp programme, which has Uber-related rewards. What’s going to happen to them?
Uber-related rewards on the Lazada LiveUp platform — members are entitled to $10 off every 10th ride and free delivery for UberEats orders over $35 — will be valid until Apr 8. However, the website has linked up with two new partners: bike sharing company ofo and restaurant reservation service Chope. So, Lazada LiveUp members can now, er, cycle out to restaurants and pick up their own food then?
#5: If you’re an Uber driver with Uber’s subsidiary vehicle rental service, Lion City Rentals, here’s what you need to know.
The news of the merger sparked fears among Uber drivers with an existing rental contract with Lion City Rentals (LCR), who feared that under contractual terms that only allow them to accept Uber rides, may not be able to migrate over to Grab. However, Grab has since clarified that these drivers will be able to take Grab bookings once the switch happens, and once their LCR contract is up, can opt for a rental under GrabRentals.
#6: You no longer have to worry about your Uber rating.
Because there’s nothing more demoralising than opening the app and seeing that you’re rated anything less than five out of five stars.