The most talked about acquistion of the year belongs is definitely between Comfort Delgro and Uber’s Lion City Rental (LCR) announced earlier in December 2017.
Comfort Delgro announced that they were be acquiring a 51% controlling stake in Uber’s Lion City Rental.
UberFLASH to give JustGrab a run for its money
The merger of Singapore’s largest taxi company and the world most famous ride-hailing company gave many a shock.
Collaboration talks between Comfort Delgro and Uber have been ongoing for many months and were rumoured to have hit a standstill before the acquisition was suddenly announced.
The newly formed alliance between Comfort Delgro Taxis and Uber is likely to give Grab’s most popular booking service JustGrab a run for their money.
It is widely anticipated that Uber will incorporate Comfort Delgro Taxis in their fleet of vehicles and introduce a new service named UberFLASH. UberFLASH works in a similar manner to that of JustGrab, where the nearest vehicle is dispatched to the rider. UberFLASH has already been introduced in other countries such as Malaysia.
The Straits Times reported that as of October 2017, Comfort Delgro has a fleet of 14,300 taxis under its Comfort and CityCab brands while Uber has 14,000 cars in its Lion City Rental (LCR) fleet. The alliance will potentially increase the fleet of Uber vehicles by 1 fold, up from 14,000 to 28,300.
The impending introduction of UberFLASH is integral to rival Grab’s own JustGrab service. Grab has been aggressive in 2017. It has signed up all the other 5 taxi companies namely HDT Taxi, Prime, TransCab, SMRT and Premier Taxi to strengthen its JustGrab’s fleet. Grab has also launched the Never-Seen-Before package targetted at Comfort Delgro taxi drivers. The package was so attractive that a reported 3000 taxi drivers expressed interest in crossing over.
UberFLASH is a double edged sword
The introduction of UberFLASH is a double-edged sword for private-hire and taxi-drivers.
Taxi-Drivers from Comfort Delgro would finally be flooded with booking requests and enjoy the surge pricing that they had been deprived off for many years. Comfort Delgro was the only company that had refused to join in the dynamic pricing revolution in Singapore.
However, it may not be so good news for private-hire drivers. Drivers who had been in the industry for a period of time should remember the introduction of JustGrab and how it impacted earnings. JustGrab promised riders lower fares than GrabCar and increased the fleet with thousands of taxi drivers joining. The increase in the number of drivers also meant that demand rarely goes to ‘red-hot’ mode since there was an ample supply of drivers to cope with the demand. Many private-hire drivers were affected by the increase in competition and reduction in earnings.
Uber has yet to announced details of the UberFLASH service. Stay tuned as we bring you the latest news in the private-hire industry.