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Grab says competition watchdog in SG ‘one-sided’ on exclusivity arrangements

Grab has called the Competition and Consumer Commission of Singapore (CCCS) “one-sided” for allowing  new entrants to maintain or sign exclusivity arrangements with drivers, private hire rental fleet and taxi operators “without restrictions”, said a report on CNA.

This is because, earlier in the month, CCCS proposed the removal of Grab’s exclusivity arrangement with any taxi or chauffeured private hire car fleet in Singapore. Grab, according to CNA, described this move to be a “double standard” that goes against essence of offering more choices for drivers and riders.

In a comment to Marketing, Lim Kell Jay, head of Grab Singapore explained, “While we don’t agree with some of the measures in the CCCS PID, we are committed to working with the CCCS to improve upon its proposed remedies to ensure a vibrant and dynamic transport sector. He added today’s transport sector is fiercely competitive with numerous public and private transportation choices for consumers.

“We believe a level playing field where participants compete fairly to provide innovative services and better user experiences will benefit consumers and drivers in the long run.”

The proposal by CCCS made earlier in the month was to increase choices for drivers and riders, as well as improve market contestability. CCCS had determined that the sale of Uber’s Southeast Asian business to Grab this March had removed competition between both companies, which were each other’s closest competitor.

In an earlier response, Grab said CCCS seems to have adopted a “very narrow approach” in defining competition. It said that while Grab is one of the most visible players in transport, it is not the only player in the market.

Across the border, Malaysia’s Land Public Transport Commission (SPAD) is requiring all ride-hailing companies to register with it and comply with a set of regulations beginning today. According to minister of transport, Anthony Loke, this is in a bid to regulate the industry to offer equal opportunities for Malaysia’s taxi industry and ride-hailing operators.

Some of the regulations enforced include applying for a licence, which will require ride-hailing companies registering with the Companies Commission of Malaysia and the Cooperative Commission of Malaysia. Other regulations include conditions for driver worthiness, conditions for vehicles and conditions for operation. Loke added that a one-year grace period will be given from the date of enforcement to allow ride-hailing companies to abide by the conditions. Nonetheless, the ministry will still closely monitor companies during the period and take action against those that do not comply, NST stated.

Most recently, Grab made headlines for doing a back flip on its Grab ride rewards loyalty system. In a statement Grab had clarified its move that created “some initial unhappiness” saying that  GrabRewards “is a unique loyalty programme for small everyday transactions”, in comparison to other loyalty programmes in the market that reward larger spends, such as those of airlines.

 

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