How Uber, Grab's merger in South-east Asia affects you

How much data do you need to transfer from your Uber account over to Grab? — Reuters pic
How much data do you need to transfer from your Uber account over to Grab? — Reuters pic

KUALA LUMPUR, March 26 — It was confirmed this morning that ride-hailing service Grab has merged with rival Uber for the latter’s South-east Asia operations. Rumours of the acquisition had been circulating for months.

The two firms have effectively eliminated competition by coming together as one.

Uber will take a 27.5 per cent stake in Grab and Uber chief executive officer Dara Khosrowshahi will join Grab’s board as part of the deal.

With the transaction, Grab will take over Uber’s ridesharing and food delivery service Uber Eats.

If you’re scratching your head wondering what happens next, either as an Uber user or driver, here’s some advice.

1. Should I delete Uber and download Grab instead?

Not necessarily. Uber will run as normal until April 8 in Malaysia, so there’s no rush to delete the app, particularly if you plan to use it overseas (see point three).

In two weeks’ time, only Grab will be available here. So download it if you haven’t already.

2. Will my Uber data be transferred to Grab?

Yes, minus card information, but this is only for internal reference.

Passengers who aren’t registered to Grab need to sign-up and start new accounts if they haven’t done so yet.

3. What will happen to my Uber account?

After April 8, Uber users’ accounts will remain active and the app can still be used in countries outside South-east Asia where Uber operates.

4. What about my Uber star-rating?

Both Grab and Uber have a star-rating system for its riders.

Whether your Uber star-rating will be automatically applied to a Grab account is unclear. Malay Mail has reached out for comment.

5. What will happen to Uber’s drivers?

They have to register to become drivers with Grab and are being encouraged to do so as soon as possible.

Similar to passengers, Uber drivers can continue to operate as normal for two weeks until April 8.

6. And what about driver’s incentives?

Uber drivers will have to get used to the rewards and incentives scheme that is in place at Grab. The structure will not change.  

Originally there were a number of different factors which affected how much a Grab driver earned compared to an Uber driver. You can see the comparisons here.

Grab told Malay Mail:

“The benefits and incentives structure is the same currently for all Grab drivers and new Uber drivers who join. Any updates will be shared accordingly.”

7. Will Grab be cheaper or more expensive than Uber?

The price will stay the same. Grab wrote online:

‘Fares will continue to be calculated based on a base distance, with a dynamic surcharge that will be applied based on factors including demand and supply in that particular point in time, traffic conditions and estimated time taken for the journey.’

8. And what about Uber Eats?

Those familiar with mighty convenient food delivery service Uber Eats, which only started delivering in Kuala Lumpur last September, needn’t worry.

It is to be replaced GrabFood, being introduced to Malaysia and Singapore as part of its expansion from Indonesia and Thailand where it already exists.

GrabFood is expected to be up and running by May.

9. Until then?

Uber Eats will operate as normal.

Similar to the ride-hailing service, your account history, such as what you’ve ordered in the past, will remain, so you may want to refer back to the app for certain information at some point.

10. Will there be anything new about GrabFood?

Grab said they are aiming to provide the same service from the same restaurants for the same delivery fee on GrabFood.

11. Lastly, what about businesses already signed up to Uber Eats?

In the coming weeks restaurant owners will be notified to join the GrabFood Merchant app.

Grab said they will have already transferred the restaurant information from Uber Eats to allow a smoother set-up.

The transition is expected to take place at some point in April.