News recently broke out that SMRT is tipped to be selling its taxi business to private-hire operator Grab. This is according to an article on The Strait Times. Marketing has reached out to SMRT and Grab for a comment.
According to the article, the proposal also necessitates Grab accepting every affected SMRT employee, however, it states that Grab is not too eager about this clause. A source close to the daily local stated that the companies are “nowhere close to a deal.” The article also stated that the deal’s success could also trigger the disposal of SMRT’s other low profit making businesses such as buses.
Last year, Temasek Holdings became the SMRT Corporation’s sole owner, and has since been reviewing its business strategies, according to the article. The company wants SMRT to focus more on its rail business to make its operations more efficient.
In the past, SMRT tried to ramp up its business by venturing into the on-demand private car hire service. This move was also made to compete with other ride-sharing platforms such as Uber and Grab, through its wholly owned subsidiary, Strides Transportation. In this new venture, SMRT offered limousine services, chauffeured services and car rental services to fulfill a growing market demand in Singapore.
Meanwhile, this is not the first time that the ride hailing platform is in talks with a local operator. Last year, Grab brought Silvercab drivers onto its platform. This was the company’s second collaboration following its first partnership with taxi operator Trans-cab in September 2016.