Singapore

Uber app to stop after this weekend

The Uber app will cease here after this weekend, ending the American firm's five-year foray into Singapore, and giving rival Grab a stronger hold of the rides market.

In response to queries from The Straits Times, the Competition and Consumer Commission of Singapore (CCCS) said: "Uber is not obliged to extend its app after May 7, 2018, under the interim measures."

The commission had ordered the app to be extended twice since the United States company sold its regional business to rival Grab in March.

It said the extensions were meant to help "smooth transition for riders and drivers, and not meant to be permanent".

That, however, does not mean the CCCS is approving the acquisition, which it has termed a "merger".

A commission spokesman said: "CCCS does not expect to complete the investigation by May 7, as further information is still being sought from parties."

But even before the probe is finished, the deal is already starting to affect the market.

Grab driver Lin Guo Han, 63, said the number of bookings has fallen by up to one-third since the Grab-Uber deal was announced in March.

"From what I see, Grab is not giving out as many promos any more," he said, referring to promotions or fare discounts.

Citing how badly business had been affected, he said he clocked 15 hours of driving on Wednesday, and collected "no more than $300".

"After deducting 20 per cent for Grab, as well as rental and fuel, I did not even get $12 an hour," he said.

A Grab spokesman said: "We hope the CCCS will complete its review in an expeditious manner, so that we can continue competing with incumbent transport companies and with new entrants."

Drivers and riders not ready to let go of Uber app

Ride-hailing firm Uber may have made it clear that it intends to leave Singapore after rival Grab acquired it on March 26, but commuters and drivers are still hanging on to the app even as it heads for its last lap.

After this weekend, Uber will be under no obligation to extend its app.

Many commuters said they are still using both ride-hailing apps, Grab and Uber.

"I have always used both Grab and Uber, so that I can compare prices and use whichever offers me a cheaper ride," said Mr Cho Jun Wen, a 27-year-old Singapore Armed Forces regular.

Drivers also said that they will use Uber as long as they can.

Commuters, however, have noticed that there are fewer promotional codes available for their rides.

On the fewer discounts, Professor Ng Yew Kwang from NTU's department of economics said: "It depends on the ability of new entrants, like Ryde and Go-Jek, to establish themselves and gain market share fast. Only with increased competition will the promo codes increase again." - ESTHER KOH

Transport