Private-hire car drivers taking wait-and-see approach

Private-hire car drivers here are taking a wait-and-see approach to the new players expected to enter the market, after the departure of American ride-hailing firm Uber.

Drivers whom The Straits Times spoke to yesterday said they would see what the new players have to offer before signing up.

"For those who are driving for their livelihood, there's no loyalty to any company," said Mr Chase Phang, 40, who runs an online support group of about 300 drivers. "Drivers will go with whoever pays better."

Agreeing with him, Mr Kurniawan Raymond Massie noted that both Grab, a Singapore-based ride-hailing firm, and Uber offered new drivers promotions such as rental rebates and cash incentives for signing up or completing a certain number of rides.

"It's all about the incentives," said the 37-year-old, who has been driving for more than a year.

Last Monday, following several months of speculation, Grab announced that it was acquiring its American rival's operations in South-east Asia for an undisclosed amount.

Since last Monday, Uber drivers have been flocking to sign up with Grab, ahead of Uber ending its services here this Sunday.

Grab has erected a large air-conditioned tent in the open-air carpark of Midview City in Sin Ming, where its driver centre is located.

Though Grab declined to say how many Uber drivers have signed up so far, there were more than 400 drivers gathered at the premises when The Straits Times visited the site yesterday.