Grab's acquisition of Uber is going to cost you
Uber's fate is sealed. Starting from 8 April, Grab will acquire Uber in what is coined as the largest acquisition for an internet company in Southeast Asia.
Other than the fact that the Uber app will no longer be usable two weeks from now, the consolidation of the two dominant ride-hailing apps will spell a lot of changes for users.
Pricing choice, no more
How many times have you balked at the surge pricing that greets you when you key in a destination in Grab? If you're like us, you would instinctively launch the Uber app to compare and hope that surge pricing hasn't kicked in.
Those days are gone. If you are ever in a rush, you have no choice but to accept the Grab booking and the ridiculous surge pricing.
That, or just be low SES about it and take public transport.
But, prices MIGHT stabilise
If you are a glass half-full kind of person, you can see it this way: there will be more Grab drivers, which should drive demand to a more manageable level.
Surge pricing kicks in during high demand. Ergo, when your demand is lower as there is a higher supply of drivers, this should theoretically keep prices steady.
You'll be lucky to get promo codes
The benefit from the ongoing war between Grab and Uber was the promo codes, meant to entice you to use the service.
But once Uber is no longer in operation, the need to drive people to Grab with promo codes will dip heavily.
Obviously, if Uber is no longer valid, your existing promo codes for Uber will cease to exist too. So if you have any promo codes, now's the time to activate and use it before the app is no longer operational from 8 April.
Some might say it's not a huge deal, since Grab is quite consistent with its promo codes. Not to mention generous with its GET5 promo that gives you $5 off.
True, but a $5 off is only good IF the reward is not fully used on a Monday, just after 11am when the promo code is valid from 7am to 11:59pm.
Moments like these, you wonder why you even bother typing in the letters.
What of the existing promotions, such as the cashback offer tied to Standard Chartered? There's still no word on that, but do check with your bank if this is still valid.
Be prepared for more cancellations
Grab drivers are given full visibility of your destination before they pick you up, unlike Uber which only reveals the destination once the driver picks up the passenger.
With the latter, Uber drivers are more willing (some, with a slight grunt) to send you there. Grab drivers who realise the route might not be to their liking (such as it being further away from their home) will cancel on you.
As a Grab user, you should be mentally prepared to have bookings cancelled on you. In fact, Grab drivers who cancel on you are doing you a kindness.
Because if you ever meet a driver who accepts your booking, regrets it and drives further and further away from you, hoping that you will cancel instead of him, you know you've hit the jackpot of bad Grab drivers.
And you really shouldn't cancel just because the driver does not want to suffer the penalty of a cancellation. Cancel at your own risk, because...
Someone in the office was cursing and swearing when this notice popped up.
To be fair, I've also had my share of Uber drivers who got lost, felt frustrated and cancelled on me before. Still, the chances of an Uber cancelling on me is much lower than Grab.
Call us glass half-empty, but it seems like we are looking at the short end of the stick with the Uber acquisition by Grab. We won't know how it pans out, but for the next few weeks, you can still rely on our promo code updates to minimise the cost of taking a Grab ride.