UK accountancy firm to ensure Grab adheres to competition measures

The measures set out by the Competition and Consumer Commission of Singapore include maintaining Grab's "pre-merger pricing and product options for riders and drivers". ST PHOTO: LEE JIA WEN

SINGAPORE - Ride-hailing providers Grab and Uber have appointed British accountancy firm Smith & Williamson as an independent agent to ensure terms set out by the regulator are complied with.

The Competition and Consumer Commission of Singapore (CCCS) - the regulatory body overseeing Grab's takeover of Uber's operations here - has approved S&W's appointment.

The firm will keep watch over Grab to ensure that interim measures set out by the CCCS are adhered to.

These include Grab having to maintain its "pre-merger pricing and product options for riders and drivers".

This means keeping base fare levels, surge factor and driver commission rates as they were prior to March 26, 2018, when Grab's acquisition of Uber's South-east Asian businesses was announced.

Drivers and riders said they have seen fewer incentives and promotions after the acquisition.

The CCCS has also directed Grab to 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," it said.

Uber is required to allow drivers who rent from Lion City Rentals to drive for any ride-hailing platform and "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 with 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.

They also question the relevance of CCCS' actions, seeing how several newcomers have entered or are entering the segment.

The CCCS said anyone who has "feedback regarding possible non-compliance" with interim measures set out by the commission should write to

Uber deactivated its app here on Monday morning, but turned it back on in the afternoon. The app, as directed by the CCCS, should run till the end of Monday (May 7).

"The Uber team apologises for the error and any inconvenience it may have caused," Uber said in an e-mail. "The app will be available through the end of today (May 7), in accordance with directions from the Competition and Consumer Commission of Singapore."

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