Competition watchdog should add taxis to ride-hailing market definition

As a private-hire driver, I agree with Grab Singapore head Lim Kell Jay that the Competition and Consumer Commission of Singapore (CCCS) has taken a very narrow definition of the ride-hailing market (Grab, Uber fined $13m for violating competition laws; Sept 25).

It baffles me that CCCS does not consider taxi operators to be competition for Grab in Singapore. Private-hire drivers compete with taxis for customers every single day.

When I chat with passengers, most of them admit to comparing the prices and promotions available between taxis and ride-hailing services before deciding which to take.

Some even submit their requests for service on multiple providers and take the ride from the driver who reaches first.

Ultimately, passengers do not differentiate between a taxi or a private car.

They just want a vehicle to take them where they would like to go.

If we think about it further, why did taxi drivers cry foul over the rise in ride-hailing apps in the past if the two sides are not competitors?

I hope the CCCS will revise its market definition to reflect the real situation.

Kenny Lim

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on September 26, 2018, with the headline 'Competition watchdog should add taxis to ride-hailing market definition'. Print Edition | Subscribe