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    • Ryde to launch new private-hire car service in Singapore

      SINGAPORE: Homegrown carpooling app Ryde announced it will be launching RydeX, its new private-hire car service, as part of its growth expansion strategy.

      The announcement on Wednesday (Mar 28) comes hot on the heels of Grab's takeover of Uber's Southeast Asian business, which includes operations in Singapore.

      Ryde said it has already started accepting sign-ups of drivers via the Ryde app, and aim to have 5,000 full-time drivers. It currently has a combined fleet of more than 55,000 drivers - both private cars and taxis - that serve 300,000 passengers a day.

      “Offering private-hire car services would complete our mobility suite to serve our users better," said founder and CEO of Ryde Technologies Terence Zou.

      “We’ve always been planning to enter into the private hire space to complete our mobility suite, but right now I think is also an opportune time, I think the market needs more competition and that’s where we can provide consumers and drivers with an alternative platform and way to get around,” he said.

      He added the move is a "natural extension" of the business, and not a response to Uber exiting the marketing here.

      RydeX, which is an on-demand ride-hailing service, promises to be competitive.

      In a press release, the company said the driver’s commission rate will be lowered to 10 per cent, adding the savings will be passed on to commuters in the form of lower fares and to drivers in the form of higher earnings.

      “We have been receiving positive feedback to launch RydeX as a new private-hire service," said Mr Zou

      "We hope to provide commuters a cheaper alternative to get around and drivers a way to make a decent living. Ultimately, our mission is to make a positive social impact in people’s lives."

      But one expert Channel NewsAsia spoke to said Ryde will need to work hard to differentiate itself.

      Dr Park Byung Joon from the Singapore University of Social Sciences said: “They will have great difficulty in terms of the driver availability, because Grab has far more vehicles under them. So if they are simply seen as another app, then of course Singaporeans will not use them that well, so it really depends on what kind of service they can provide for commuters.”    

      Dr Park added that Grab’s takeover of Uber does little to alter the saturation of the private hire car market here, and he believes Ryde would have entered the market regardless.

      Mr Zou said that being the smaller player has its advantages.

      “Having run our carpooling business for close to three years, we also understand what the riders and the drivers want, what features they would like, what are the things that work for them, so we have been collating feedback all this while, and definitely putting the consumer first, listening to what they want, giving them a good fare option, that would be our core focus.”


      Source: CNA/na/(rw)

    • Allow us to 'freely compete', Grab urges Government

       

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    • yeah. checking out ryde now 

    • Uber no more: Here are all the things you can now use Grab for

       

      If you find it hard to keep up with developments from Grab, we feel you. After all, they’ve been busy releasing things like GrabCycle just slightly over two weeks ago, even amidst speculation of their impending buyout of Uber’s Southeast Asian operations—which we all now know to be reality.

      As part of that deal, Grab will absorb Uber’s operations here while Uber’s services will exit the market in stages. It’s bad news for those who rely on Uber’s ride hailing services, including their recently-launched Uber Commute, as both drivers and riders have only two more weeks to choose to migrate to Grab (or not), since the Uber app will cease to function in Southeast Asia from Apr 8. Your Uber account will remain intact for use in other markets.

      For those using Uber Eats (not that we lack food delivery options anyway), it’ll work until end-May, just as GrabFood expands around the region, including being introduced here in Singapore. With all that happening, here’s the quick and easy guide to help you keep track of what functions are available on Grab, both now and in the forseeable future.

      GrabFood
      The biggest new service we’ll soon get is GrabFood. Those who’ve already tried using it in Thailand and Indonesia will know what to expect when it lands in Singapore by mid-2018. All of Uber Eats’ merchants will migrate to the GrabFood platform, including everyone’s go-to fast food option, McDonald’s.

      GrabCycle
      The aforementioned GrabCycle is actually an ongoing development, so expect changes. But as of now, it’s already a solid bicycle marketplace that allows you to grab bikes and other personal mobility devices from vendors like oBike, GBikes, Anywheel and Popscoot on a single app.

      GrabPay
      If all goes according to their plan, this is probably the service that’s gonna bind us all to Grab. The mobile e-wallet allows Grab users to pay for all Grab rides and a growing number of other products and services (from hawker food to dental surgery) using their app. Looks like Grab is shaping up to be the WeChat of Southeast Asia.

      GrabRewards
      Essentially their loyalty program, GrabRewards keep us customers within the Grab ecosystem by offering us the incentive to keep spending on Grab and through Grab, and get a free ride now and then in return. Spend using GrabPay and earn even more points—just the way they like it.

      GrabShuttle
      Available on the separate GrabShuttle app are the GrabShuttle and GrabShuttle Plus services that offers bus rides on-demand. While GrabShuttle operates on fixed routes, the Plus service plies routes dynamically based on user demand, just like their carpooling service GrabShare, except you’re sharing the ride with many more others.

      Grab rides
      Remember the good ol’ days when Grab was just a ride hailing service? Well, back then, even services like GrabHitch was innovative. All there was were GrabTaxi for hailing taxis, GrabCar for hailing private hire cars, and JustGrab for either. Throw in a plethora of other services like GrabShare, GrabHitch, GrabCoach, GrabFamily and GrabNow, and there’s an option for getting a ride in any form or fashion you deem fit.

      GrabGrab
      If you’ve not heard of this one yet, it’s because it doesn’t exist, although we think they should definitely work on it. With all the services that Grab offers these days, it’s getting tricky to know what to Grab and when to Grab it. GrabGrab will let you pair yourself with a Grabber who’ll make sure you Grab the Grab service that’s right for you.

      In all seriousness though, while Grab monopolising the market means less app clutter on our smartphones, it means there’s no longer any competition here. That means we can expect fewer discounted rides and throwaway freebies. And while they’ve promised to keep rates unchanged, that means little in the face of a dynamic fare structure for many of their ride services.

      If Uber’s exit from China thanks to local rival Didi Chuxing is any indication, in time, less competition only results in less benefits for us consumers.

    • Drivers waiting to see what new ride-hailing firms will offer

      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 is 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 is all about the incentives. When Uber and Grab came, people signed up (as drivers) for the incentives," said the 37-year-old, who has been driving for more than a year.

      On March 26, following several months of speculation, Grab announced that it was acquiring its American rival's operations in South-east Asia for an undisclosed amount.

      As part of the deal, Uber will take a 27.5 per cent stake in Grab, while Uber's chief executive Dara Khosrowshahi will join Grab's board.

      Following the announcement, local carpooling platform Ryde announced its own plans to introduce a private-hire car service, dubbed RydeX.

      Separately, The Straits Times reported yesterday that Indonesian start-up Go-Jek plans to launch its private-hire car service Go-Car in Singapore, as part of its regional expansion plans.

      Since last week, Uber drivers have been flocking to sign up with Grab, ahead of Uber ending its services here on Sunday. Grab has erected a large air-conditioned tent - measuring about 20m by 8m - at 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 yesterday.

      However, there may yet be a snag in the deal between the two firms. The Competition Commission of Singapore announced last week that it was investigating the merger for possible infringements of the Competition Act, and proposed interim measures to preserve competition.

      Malaysia and the Philippines said yesterday that they would also be scrutinising the deal to see whether it would hinder competition in their countries.

       

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    • imagine what will happen when there is only Grab...............

    • The Uber-Grab merger has caused unduly duress (okay exaggeration, but seeing the number of people who depend on Uber for their livelihood…) among its stakeholders this past week.

      In case you’re finding it hard to keep up with current developments, we’ll get you up to speed. Grab confirmed that it'll be acquiring Uber's Southeast Asia's operations, giving Uber a 27.5% share in their business. Uber will cease operations on Apr 8, while Uber Eats will run till the end of May, after which their partners will shift to a new platform called GrabFood. Uber staff are now on garden leave and are waiting for a call from Grab, who promised no lay-offs as part of their deal with Uber. Singapore competition watchdog Competition Commission of Singapore (CCS) has laid out interim measures as investigation is ongoing on possible infringement of the Competition Act.

      Phew, that’s pretty much it. Of course, this was met with fears of a price increase when using Grab because, well, if they’re the only ones in the game, everybody’s going to be fighting for a car from the same company which means there’ll be an increase in demand, ergo—let’s say it together—surge pricing. The regular discounts that were often doled out would possibly come to a halt, only because these were just tactics to woo consumers to their side when there was competition. Then again, that’s just a privilege, not a right. And it’s bound to discontinue anyway, with or without the merger, because it doesn't make business sense for Grab.

      Change is always scary, especially if you're one of the many loyal users of Uber. If for some reason—perhaps you don't like the UI/UX of Grab, or otherwise—can’t wrap your head around using Grab, there are two new players who are about to enter the market for your ride-hailing and -sharing needs. Enter Ryde—a local startup providing p2p carpooling in Singapore since 2015. Hot on the heels of the Uber-Grab acquisition, they announced that they’ll be launching a new private-hire car service called RydeX, a move they call a “natural extension of its growing business”. It's not currently available on the app, but the startup has stated that they've already begun accepting driver sign-ups right now. We have reached out to their representatives on when it will roll out, but details are still in the works.

      And then there’s Go-Jek, the Indonesian ride-hailing app that started out offering rides on motorcycle taxis in 2010. There’s still no clear indication of whether it’ll make its way into Singapore, but there have been speculation of expansion to our sunny island, the Philippines, Thailand and Vietnam. They’ve also had a quiet presence in Singapore since last year in the form of a data science office. However, if they are indeed going to roll out their services to Singapore, they won’t be able to launch their main service here as "motorcycles are not allowed to be used for point-to-point transport services, unlike taxis and private hire cars," according to a statement by the Land Transport Authority last year.

      If all else fails, there's the option of going back to buses and the very trusty SMRT.

    • Grab app suffers second outage in a week due to 'technical issue'  

      Ride-hailing app Grab experienced an outage on Friday (April 6) afternoon, the second time in a week.

       

      An error message was seen on the app when TODAY tried to log on at 12.30pm.

       

      It said: "Due to a technical issue, you may not be able to use the Grab app as per normal. We are working hard to fix the issue and will be back to serve you as soon as we can," Grab.

    • Grab-Uber merger: Shutdown of Uber app in S’pore extended for a week as watchdog investigates deal  

       

      Local users of the Uber app can continue using it until April 15, the Competition and Consumer Commission of Singapore (CCCS) said on Friday (April 6) as it continued its investigation into the merger between the US ride-hailing pioneer and Grab, its Singapore-based rival.

       

      Uber’s app was initially due to be shut here on April 8, as part of changes triggered by Grab’s acquisition of Uber’s South-east Asia operations. However, news of the deal prompted the commission to launch an investigation, as well as to issue a set of proposed interim directives to both companies to “preserve and/or restore competition and market conditions”.

       

      This meant that both parties would have to maintain their pre-transaction pricing, pricing policies and product options for their services in Singapore. Under the proposed directives, Grab and Uber would not be able to obtain any confidential information from the other party, including information related to pricing, formulas, customers and drivers, said the commission. Grab would also ensure that Uber drivers joining Grab’s ride-hailing platform of their own accord are not subject to any exclusivity clauses, lock-in periods and/or termination fees.

       

      The commission said on Friday that both companies had agreed to extend the deadline for the shutdown of Uber’s app by one week in order to facilitate the investigation of the merger. The extension is limited to the Singapore market, according to a Grab spokesperson.

       

      In its statement, the CCCS also disclosed that both ride-hailing companies had written to the commission to offer alternatives to the interim arrangement introduced by the commission. TODAY understands that Uber and Grab submitted separate proposals.

       

      The CCCS said it was reviewing the proposals, but gave no details on what they entailed. Asked how long its investigation would take, the commission told TODAY that it would depend on the “facts and circumstances of the case”, and the “level of co-operation” by Uber, Grab and relevant third-parties.

       

      “CCCS is aware of the need to expedite investigations in this case,” the commission added.

       

      Grab declined to discuss the proposals, saying that they were still being reviewed by the commission. Uber declined to comment and said TODAY’s queries should be referred to Grab.

       

      Grab’s spokeperson expressed optimism that the alternative interim measures submitted to the commission would “ease concerns around the contestability of the dynamic point-to-point transport market”. The firm also said its alternative proposals will allow it to “run a competitive business and remain agile and flexible so that we can innovate and deliver better services.”

       

      “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,” the spokesperson added.

       

      News of the extension of the Uber app came hours after Grab’s version suffered its second outage in a week.

       

      Grab’s ride-hailing app was down around lunchtime on Friday, with an error message warning users that the service was experiencing a “technical issue”. Regular services resumed around 12.40pm.

       

      Grab suffered a more extensive outage on Tuesday night that affected its customers and drivers across several South-east Asian countries, including Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand, Indonesia and the Philippines. The company blamed its “underlying infrastructure” for the outage, but did not give specific details.

       

      todayonline

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    • Grab-Uber deal on hold as watchdog orders immediate measures to keep market 'open and contestable'  

       

      The merger between Grab and Uber has stalled again, as the Competition and Consumer Commission of Singapore (CCCS), which is still investigating the deal, ordered a set of enhanced interim measures to take immediate effect on Friday (April 13).

       

      These measures, which are meant to keep the ride-hailing market “open and contestable”, also include those to further protect drivers.

       

      For instance, apart from making sure that Uber or new drivers who are joining Grab’s platform of their own accord are not subject to any exclusivity obligations, lock-in periods and/or termination fees, Grab also has to ensure that these drivers are not penalised, directly or indirectly, as a result.

       

      A new directive was also placed addressing drivers who rent vehicles from Uber’s vehicle rental subsidiary Lion City Rentals.

       

      Grab and Uber must ensure that these drivers will be free to drive for any ride-hailing platform and shall not be subject to any hindrance such as higher rental rates and the lack of insurance coverage that will limit the drivers’ ability to drive for any platform. Both firms are expected to inform drivers of this through an email.

       

      They also have to clearly communicate through an email to drivers and riders in Singapore who were on the Uber platform that migration to the Grab platform is purely optional.

       

      This expanded set of measures come on the back of an earlier one proposed on March 30, which stipulated that to “preserve and/or restore competition and market conditions”, both ride-hailing firms would have to maintain their pre-transaction pricing, pricing policies and product options for their services in Singapore. They were also told not to obtain any confidential information from each other, including information related to pricing, formulas, customers and drivers.

       

      In its statement on Friday, the CCCS also said that the Uber mobile application in Singapore should continue to run until May 7, “with necessary customer support to handle contractual and payment issues”.

       

      This is the second time the shutdown of the app has been put off, the first being on April 6. The app was due to stop running on April 8, after Grab announced its takeover of Uber’s South-east Asian operations on March 26.

       

      News of the deal prompted the CCCS to launch an investigation on March 27, into what it described as an “unnotified transaction” between the two companies.

       

      The competition watchdog said on Friday that the latest interim measures will stay in effect until its investigation into the merger is completed, and/or until any competition concerns that may arise from the deal are resolved, or until it revokes them due to “material changes in market conditions”. It did not give a date for when its investigations will be done.

       

      During this time, as part of the added measures, Grab and Uber have to maintain their pricing and product options for riders and drivers, including the levels of base fares, surge factor and driver commission rates — as they were before the sale.

       

      Grab will also not be able to take over operational data such as trip history data from Uber to enhance its market position, though the CCCS noted that Grab will be able to receive personal data of drivers, riders and merchants who have opted to move from Uber to the Grab platform.

       

      Introduced on Friday is also an order for Grab to stop its exclusivity arrangements with all taxi fleets in Singapore. This is provided that there are no exclusivity arrangements between any taxi fleet and any third-party ride-hailing platform in Singapore 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.

       

      To see that all parties comply with the latest interim measures, the CCCS said that an independent monitoring trustee shall be appointed for this.

       

      ‘WORK WITHIN SET CONSTRAINTS’

       

      In response to the announcement, Grab said that it will “work within the set constraints”, but pointed out that the review by the commission will hopefully take into account “a dynamic industry that is constantly evolving, highly competitive, and being disrupted by technology and new services”.

       

      Mr Lim Kell Jay, head of Grab Singapore, also voiced concern over the possible “unintended effects of the interim measures”, that they should not be “hampering competition and restricting businesses that have already been investing in the country over the years”.

       

      While the company recognised CCCS’ commitment to preserving competition, Mr Lim said that “all companies — no matter big or small, digital or traditional — are capable of innovation in a free market”.

       

      “Grab entered Singapore five years ago with minimal resources and the goal of enabling all taxi drivers to earn a better living using our platform,” he said.

       

      “We’re proud to be headquartered in Singapore, where the country’s free market economy and policies enable businesses to compete and innovate vigorously to solve customer needs. We trust the Government will continue to be pro-business in providing a path for start-ups to flourish and become sustainable businesses.”

       

      Mr Lim also said that the company will continue to focus on building better products to compete, ensuring fairness for passengers and drivers, and to cultivate the tech talent pool here through its regional research and development centre in Singapore.

       

      As for its alliance with taxi operators, Grab is “fully supportive” of extending its platform to all taxi drivers, including ComfortDelGro drivers who are still constrained from picking up JustGrab jobs.

       

      TODAY understands that that Grab has no plans to stop its partnership with taxi operators such as Trans-cab, HDT Taxi, Premier Taxi, Prime Taxi, and SMRT Taxi.

       

      Separately on Friday, the Land Transport Authority expressed its support for the interim measures issued by the CCCS. “In particular, we note that the measures pertaining to the removal of exclusivity obligations and impediments to market contestability will further promote market competition in the point-to-point (P2P) transport sector.”

       

      The authority is reviewing the broader regulatory framework for this sector, including studying how to structure the sector and license private-hire car booking service operators.

       

      “This is to ensure the sector remains open and contestable and no single operator dominates the market to the detriment of commuters and drivers. Where necessary, we will work with CCCS, taxi companies, and private-hire car booking service operators to operationalise CCCS’s interim measures directions requirements,” it added.

       

      todayonline

    • Uber to continue operations in Singapore till May 7: competition watchdog

       

      Singapore’s competition watchdog on Friday (13 April) outlined a number of interim measures as it continued investigation into ride-hailing firm Grab’s deal to buy rival Uber Technologies’ business in Southeast Asia.

      The Competition and Consumer Commission of Singapore (CCCS) said the measures include preventing Grab to take over operational data from Uber to enhance its market position, adding that Uber would continue to operate in Singapore until May 7 to smoothen the transition.

      The statement by CCCS comes after it had previously given an extension of Uber’s business to 15 April.

      Other measures include ensuring that drivers are not subjected to “exclusivity agreements” and making sure the ride-hailing firms maintain their pre-merger pricing and commission levels.

      Head of Grab Singapore Lim Kell Jay said, “We trust that the CCCS’ review takes into account a dynamic industry that is constantly evolving, highly competitive, and being disrupted by technology and new services. The interim measures should not have the unintended effect of hampering competition and restricting businesses that have already been investing in the country over the years.”

      He added that the company has noted the CCCS’ objective of giving drivers choice, and “are fully supportive of extending our platform to all taxi drivers, including ComfortDelGro drivers who are still constrained from picking up JustGrab jobs”.

      “We will work within the set constraints and continue to focus on building better products to compete, ensuring fairness for passengers and drivers, and cultivating the local tech talent pool through our regional R&D centre in Singapore,” said Lim.

      In a separate statement, the Land Transport Authority (LTA) said it supports the interim measures issued by CCCS to Grab and Uber.

      “LTA is in the process of reviewing the broader regulatory framework for the P2P (point-to-point) sector, including studying how to structure the sector and license private hire car (PHC) booking service operators. This is to ensure the sector remains open and contestable and no single operator dominates the market to the detriment of commuters and drivers,” said the LTA. – WITH REUTERS

       

      yahoo

    • Soon, students and school staff can use GrabShuttle to get to school

       

      All primary, secondary and tertiary school students and staff in Singapore can soon hop on GrabShuttle to get to their schools, said local ride-hailing firm Grab on Friday (20 April).

      Ranging from $130 per month for one-way trips on a large bus to $420 per month for two-way trips in a taxi, the new service will allow for “more personalised and flexible transport options” as users can customise and crowdsource desired routes by submitting requests to the GrabShuttle webpage, said Grab.

      Users must pay upfront for the first two months. The service also follows a nine-month payment schedule, compared to conventional shuttle services that require users to pay for the whole year.

       

      “On top of regular 13- and 23-seater GrabShuttle vehicles, parents and staff can also opt for 4-seater taxis with minimal drop-off and pick-up points,” added the ride-hailing firm.

       

      According to Grab, those who opt for the taxi service will only have three to four drop-off points. They also have the flexibility to customise drop-off points for different days, which will allow students to alight at an alternative destination without any additional charges.

      “By aggregating pick-up and drop-off points across multiple schools and using tech to find the best matches, students and staff could save up to 50 per cent travelling time, as compared to traditional school bus services and public transport,” said Grab.

      The ride-hailing firm added that parents will be able to track routes in real-time via the GrabShuttle app and directly contact the driver when needed.

      “Route privacy also ensures that only parents or guardians of verified students are provided with the relevant information for route tracking, ensuring the safety and security of all students using the service,” said Grab.

      Drivers of this new service will also “go through rounds of screening and be trained to handle younger children” and “all vehicles will be equipped with seat belts and are covered under commercial insurance”.

      “Since we launched GrabShuttle over a year ago, we have had parents and teachers requesting for routes to and from schools, as well as a more personalised service,” said Alvin Wee, Head of GrabShuttle Singapore. “By listening to consumer demand and leveraging data analytics to design the most efficient routes, children can get more sleep each day, while allowing parents to save time in their daily morning routine.”

      The introduction of shuttle services for students marks the third expansion to GrabShuttle, following the launch of GrabShuttle and GrabShuttle Plus last year. 

      Last Friday, the Competition and Consumer Commission of Singapore outlined a number of interim measures as it continued investigations into ride-hailing firm Grab’s deal to buy rival Uber Technologies’ business in Southeast Asia.

      The competition watchdog the measures include preventing Grab to take over operational data from Uber to enhance its market position, adding that Uber would continue to operate in Singapore until 7 May to smoothen the transition.

       

       

      Edited by FireIce 20 Apr `18, 12:56PM
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    • Go-Jek is in talks with former Uber ally ComfortDelGro, Singapore's top taxi firm

       

      ComfortDelGro, Singapore's largest taxi operator, has held talks with Go-Jek about a potential partnership that could replace its annulled agreement with Uber.

      Uber strike a major deal when it tied up with Comfort last December, but that fell apart last month when the U.S. firm agreed to sell its Southeast Asia business to Grab and exit the region entirely. Go-Jek is already looking to step into the void by expanding its Indonesia-based service into Thailand, Vietnam and the Philippines, but now a source tells TechCrunch that the ambitious startup has held early-stage talks with Comfort that could see it enter Singapore as ride-hailing partner for its 15,000 drivers.

      Comfort did not reply to a request for comment. A Go-Jek spokesperson said the company "can't comment on rumor and speculation."

      Go-Jek is valued at more than $4.5 billion and it has raised over $2 billion from investors that include GoogleTencent, JD.com, Allianz and Meituan Dianping. The company started life as a motorbike taxi-hailing app, but it has since expanded into four-wheeled taxis, services on-demand and payments in Indonesia where it is considered the market leader.

      The company has always harbored a desire to expand across Southeast Asia and, after Uber's exit, it is seizing an opportunity. Moves into Vietnam, Thailand and Philippines -- which sources told TechCrunch are underway with local teams already hired -- make sense since these are markets where Go-Jek can roll out its flagship bike service and potentially others, but Singapore is trickier since motorbike taxis are outlawed.

      Go-Jek opened a Singapore office for business development last year, and it believes that there is demand for its services there. Rather than launching from scratch -- which a host of smaller services including Ryde and India's Jugnoo are planning -- it is eying a tie-up with Comfort that would give it access to its fleet.

      There may be demand driver-side, too. Comfort told its drivers to delete Uber in the wake of the merger deal with Grab, but many of the fleet are reportedly uneasy about Grabbeing their only ride-hailing option. That's an angle that Go-Jek could leverage in its talks with Comfort, which are initially exploratory in nature, we understand.

      • This article originally appeared on TechCrunch.
    • RydeX (beta) is out

      more asspensive than uber and grab hohoho

       

      lets see if the prices will be more competitive when it has settled in

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    • New disruptors lining up to eat Grab's lunch

       

      JUST when Uber's exit appears to have left Singapore's ride-hailing field wide open for Grab, new players are preparing to enter the turf.

      Five new and diverse players - two of which use blockchain and cryptocurrency - are entering the fray, The Business Times has learnt. Go-Jek, Dacsee, Jugnoo, Ryde and MVL are set to reinstate competition in the ride-hailing sector, and put to rest fears of a Grab monopoly by the Competition and Consumer Commission of Singapore (CCCS).

      Hugh Mason, chief of corporate innovation firm JFDI, told BT that the dynamism in Singapore's ride-hailing market is "fantastic". "Just within a few years, the disruptors are being disrupted themselves."

      Isaac Ho, a Singapore-based venture capitalist, added: "Even with the Grab-Uber merger, the ride-hailing space still presents a lot of opportunities, one of which is managing the supply side. Some Uber drivers were reportedly reluctant to join Grab's platform, over concerns that drivers' fees may increase, which means that ultimately, commuters will pay higher fares." He added: "Non-traditional players such as blockchain-based tech players may see this as an opportunity to disrupt the traditional commission-based model and reduce the fees imposed on drivers."

      Singapore-based MVL, for instance, said it is a not-for-profit firm, and wants to revolutionise the mobility industry by enabling the transparent sharing of all data related to driving, accidents, repairs and other mobility-related transactions.

      It plans to charge zero commission on all rides and only a negligible transaction fee for the maintenance of its platform.

      Its blockchain platform will track and gather data on vehicle activity. Participants who provide data will be rewarded with MVL Points, which can be converted into MVL Coins (the cryptocurrency used in MVL's ecosystem), and eventually exchanged for fiat money on cryptocurrency exchanges.

      Riders will be rewarded for rating and reviewing their drivers, while drivers will be rewarded for driving safely and recording driving data.

      MVL founder Kay Woo said: "The recent consolidation of the two major ride-hailing players and rapid advancement of the distributed ledger technology make it possible for us to offer our platform to create a transparent and accountable mobility ecosystem that rewards all participants."

      New entrants

      Dacsee, a Malaysia-headquartered blockchain player, will launch in Singapore in the second quarter of 2019, BT has learnt. Dacsee wants to reduce the commission charged to drivers to between 1 and 2 per cent, down from the current market rate of 25 per cent.

      It said that while current ride-hailing platforms use their commission to pay for overheads or shareholders, Dacsee's blockchain system will redistribute its commission to the drivers, commuters and the local authorities on its platform.

      To date, it has amassed over 30,000 drivers across Asia on its platform, and raised over US$25 million in funding.

      Kenneth Tan, co-founder of Singapore-based cryptocurrency crowdfunding platform FundYourselfNow, told BT that the benefits of using blockchain in ride-hailing are clear: "It removes the middleman, allows for lower costs, and provides a platform to encourage good behaviour in all participants and distribute rewards to them in a fair manner."

      Mr Tan said a key challenge will be user adoption, as drivers and commuters will need to understand and accept cryptocurrency, and learn how to cash out and manage cryptocurrency safely. "It's going to take a while."

      Meanwhile, Go-Jek - Indonesia's first unicorn startup that popularised motorcycle taxis - will launch here in the "next few months", a source close to Go-Jek told BT. At launch, Go-Jek will offer only car-hailing services; motorcycles are barred from providing point-to-point transport services in Singapore. Go-Jek also plans to launch other services such as food delivery later, the source added.

      Go-Jek is also in talks with taxi giant ComfortDelGro to explore a potential partnership, the source confirmed to BT.

      Go-Jek, which has raised at least US$2.1 billion since its 2010 founding, is backed by investors including Temasek, Tencent and Sequoia Capital.

      Jugnoo, believed to be India's third largest ride-hailing player after Uber and ola, will launch here on May 1 with a target of 500 drivers. It will debut in Singapore a "reverse bidding" model, in which drivers bid a price for each ride, and riders choose a driver based on price, driver rating and the time taken for the driver to reach them.

      Jugnoo chief Samar Singla said: "We are very excited about our launch in Singapore. We saw a vacuum and analysed the issues currently being faced in the ride-hailing market of Singapore. We believe that an open driver-commuter network is a need of the hour."

      He told BT that Jugnoo is in talks with private agencies to recruit private-hire car drivers, and has signed up about 50 thus far. Jugnoo has not engaged taxi operators as taxi drivers work on metered fares and are not allowed to dictate prices, he said. But he is hoping that this will change after a consultation with the Land Transport Authority.

      On Thursday, homegrown firm Ryde announced that its private-hire car service, RydeX, will launch here on May 2. For a start, RydeX will offer two options - RydeX Scheduled, which lets commuters book a ride between 10 minutes and seven days in advance, and RydeEXEC, which is for booking luxury cars.

      Ryde chief Terence Zou said the company will launch an "on-demand" ride-hailing service when it attains a critical mass of 10,000 to 15,000 private-hire car drivers.

      The startup, which began as a carpooling service in 2015, has more than 5,000 private-hire cars on its platform. Through a "technical integration" with ComfortDelGro, commuters can also book a ride from over 15,000 ComfortDelGro taxis through the Ryde app.

      CCCS, when asked if it was aware that competition in the ride-hailing sector is on its way, said: "We note that there is some news on potential new entrants. Entry of players into the market is a factor for consideration in our assessment."

      But it noted that "for new entrants (actual or threatened) to be considered as a sufficient competitive constraint", three conditions must be satisfied, that is the entry must be "likely", "sufficient in extent" and "timely".

      "We will determine if there is substantial lessening of competition in this case when we complete our assessment of the investigation, taking into account all relevant facts and circumstances."

      Grab on Thursday declined to comment on the new competition.

    • PM Lee on Grab-Uber deal: S'pore wants to ensure competition, make sure commuters have choices and taxi drivers not locked in http://str.sg/oGj2 

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