Uber finally confirmed that it was exiting the Philippines, sending shock to Metro Manila commuters amid news of the pullout during the past few weeks. Uber also validated previous reports that it was relinquishing its Philippine operations to rival Grab. The transport network vehicle service provider also confirmed that it is fully exiting Southeast Asia.
There are mixed reactions from local commuters, some expressing their fears about the decline in service quality as well as concerns on prices because of Grab’s monopoly in the market.
In response to commuters’ apprehension, Grab Philippines Country Head Brian Cu said, “I would like to reassure the government and the public that we will continue to work in a collaborative and open manner. We will keep our commitment towards quality of service. We will continue to adhere to regulatory guidelines on activations and pricing.”
Cu further asserted the advantages of the merger, such as a larger fleet of drivers, the availability of GrabRewards, an in-app loyalty program; the use of GrabPay, a mobile wallet that is convenient to top-up; and the ease of use of GrabExpress for getting parcels delivered on-demand and with real-time tracking.
“Our partnership with Uber will fuel our drive and passion for a better transport future. We will continue to work and collaborate with the Department of Transportation (DOTr), Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB), local government units and other stakeholders to constantly find ways to improve our services,” Cu concluded.
Only time will tell if this development is for the benefit of Filipino commuters. For now, let’s hope for the best as commuting in the Philippines is a daily struggle.
Focusing on growth
Uber has earlier exited the Chinese and Russian markets; all operations were sold off to its competitors in the respective countries.
Published in the Uber website was an email from Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi sent to Southeast Asian staff. In the letter, Khosrowshahi said that Uber will get a 27.5% stake in the combined company.
“Our journey in Southeast Asia started in Singapore almost five years ago. I’m conscious that much of the hard work happened before I arrived, and I want to recognize the operations you have built across these eight countries,” Khosrowshahi said.
“After investing $700 million in the region, we will hold a stake worth several billion dollars, and strategic ownership in what we believe will be the winner in an important global region. That’s all because of you and what you have done. These are never easy decisions and I know this will mean a big change for you and your families, but I believe that combining forces with Grab is the right thing to do for Uber for the long term,” the Uber CEO added.
Around 500 Uber employees across the Southeast Asian region will transfer to Grab. In the Philippines, the merger is expected to be completed by April 8. Starting April 9, the Uber app will be unusable already so all request for bookings must be done via the Grab app.
“Going forward we will be focused on organic growth—growth that comes from building the best products, services and technology in the world, and re-building our brand into the mobility brand that riders, cities and drivers want to support and partner with,” Khosrowshahi ended.
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