This article first appeared in The Edge Financial Daily on May 2, 2018
KUALA LUMPUR: Grab said it does not see antitrust an issue for the ride-hailing service following its recent merger with rival Uber, and stressed that it will not engage in unfair practices.
“I think the best way to make sure that everybody gains is to actually improve productivity and efficiency in the whole ecosystem,” said Grab Malaysia country head Sean Goh.
Goh said that if Grab were to raise fares, drivers would receive better earnings. But if increased excessively, the company would lose demand from passengers and this would lead to lower earnings for the driver.
Conversely, if Grab tried to boost demand by reducing pricing for drivers so that there will be more passengers on the platform, the company would not have enough drivers to provide good level of availability to passengers, he said.
“Raising or dropping prices is neither good nor bad unless there is a fundamental reason for doing so,” Goh told a press conference on Monday.
“For example, if petrol prices or car prices and all the input costs come down, of course we'll have to reduce our pricing to be competitive. And if everything went up, we would have to increase our prices to be fair to our drivers,” he said.
"I think with that kind of balanced view in mind, in my opinion, anti-trust is not really an issue," he added.
In early April, anti-trust watchdog Malaysian Competition Commission said it will be closely monitoring the ride-hailing service market after the Grab-Uber merger takes place to ensure that competition is not disrupted.
The merger involves Uber offloading its Southeast Asian operations to Grab in return for a 27.5% stake in the Singapore-based company.
Meanwhile, Grab Malaysia and Petronas Dagangan Bhd have launched the Grab Driver Pit Stop, which is an area for Grab driver partners to rest before continuing their journey.
It will serve as a comfortable place for all drivers to recharge themselves, and receive complimentary Mesra mineral water or hot coffee for every RM50 purchase of fuel, along with other offers.
“The first phase of the project will see 58 Grab Driver Pit Stops being rolled out in selected states across the country, out of which five selected outlets will be fully furnished with an exclusive seating area to provide drivers with added comfort and convenience,” the two companies said.
Petronas and Grab said they expect to have 100 pit stops by year end.
Speaking at the launch, Petronas’s head of retail business Aadrin Azly said five fully furnished outlets are now operational at PS Mutiara Damansara, PS Jalan Jelatek 2, PS KLIA2, PS East West Link and PS Sprint Highway.
“By end of 2018, it is targeted the fully furnished Grab Drive Pit Stop to be available in every city Grab is also present in,” he said.