Yeap, it’s official — Grab has won the long ride-hailing battle against Uber in Southeast Asia. The Singapore-based firm announced today it has bought its US rival’s ride-sharing and food delivery operations in the region for an undisclosed amount of money (probably a hella lot of it).
But what does this mean for us normies who are regular users of either (or both) apps? As soon as the deal was announced, Grab sent an email out to its users to assure that better service is coming with the now unified platform. “As one, we will be able to combine our strengths into a unified platform that serves the daily commuting, delivery and payment needs of millions of people across nearly 200 cities in Southeast Asia,” the Grab newsletter noted.
As things are settling in (think of the logistics and administrative overhaul needed for an acquisition this huge), Grab assures that operations will continue as normal while it subsumes Uber’s platform into its own. According to Grab, we have about two weeks left to use Uber’s services in Indonesia — the service will end come April 8. After that, Uber services will no longer be available to users in Southeast Asia, although current Uber accounts will remain active and usable in any country outside the region where Uber operates.
The biggest worry we have in our heads, however, is a possible hike in fares for private-hire rides, now that the two biggest companies in the business are one. Fear not, said Grab in an FAQ section, where it flatly said no to fare changes. Fares will continue to be calculated based on a base distance with dynamic surcharges for services like GrabCar and GrabBike; taxi rides booked through Grab will have metered fares like before; and GrabHitch will have fares sticking to the usual fixed amounts.
One good thing coming out from this is the possibility of faster booking experiences as more drivers are ported over to the Grab platform. But it won’t be surprising to experience service disruptions in the following weeks — like we said, there are lots of moving parts involved in the transition.
Uber Eats will last a bit longer, it seems. According to Grab, new food delivery service GrabFood will arrive by May, and all restaurants available on Uber Eats will also be available in the new app. Prices are said to remain the same as before for customers, and restaurant owners shouldn’t be seeing any changes in their compensation either. In May, the Uber Eats app will stop working, and everyone — customers, delivery riders, and restaurants — will be asked to move to GrabFood.