Firms pick agent to ensure rule compliance

Ride-hailing providers Grab and Uber have appointed British accountancy firm Smith & Williamson as an independent agent to ensure interim measures set out by the Competition and Consumer Commission of Singapore are adhered to.

The regulatory body, which is overseeing Grab's takeover of Uber's operations here, has approved Smith & Williamson's appointment.

Among other things, Grab has to maintain its "pre-merger pricing and product options for riders and drivers" and ensure that new drivers are not subject to any exclusivity obligations, lock-in periods or termination fees. "Grab shall ensure these drivers are not penalised, directly or indirectly, as a result," said the commission.

Uber is required to allow drivers who rent from Lion City Rentals to drive for any ride-hailing platform and ensure they "shall not be subject to any impediments" that limit their ability to drive for any ride-hailing platform. Uber is required to release ComfortDelGro from any restrictions that prevent it from partnering a third-party ride-hailing platform.

Grab shall cease its exclusivity arrangements with all taxi fleets in Singapore. This is provided that there are no exclusivity arrangements in Singapore between any taxi fleets and any third-party ride-hailing platform other than Grab, and that all taxi operators permit their respective taxi drivers to drive for any third-party ride-hailing platform for metered and fixed fare jobs.

Observers said this measure cannot be met because taxi giant ComfortDelGro does not allow its drivers to accept JustGrab jobs.

Separately yesterday, Uber turned its service off and then on again after realising it had mistakenly shut down a day early. The Uber app here was due to cease working today.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on May 08, 2018, with the headline 'Firms pick agent to ensure rule compliance'. Print Edition | Subscribe