Antitrust body OKs Grab-Uber deal, sets conditions

By Aika Rey/rappler.com – The Philippine Competition Commission (PCC) has bound ride-hailing company Grab Philippines to fair pricing conditions and service quality commitments for acquiring Uber.

The PCC released its decision on Friday, August 10 – 70 days after Grab first submitted commitments to address concerns of “virtual monopoly” of the ride-hailing service.

*Service quality – Commit to bring back average acceptance and cancellation rates before the Grab-Uber transaction, as well as faster response time to rider complaints.

*Fare transparency – Revise receipt to show the fare breakdown of the trip, including distance, fare surges, discounts, promo reductions, and per-minute charges if reinstated by the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board.

*Pricing commitment – Grab must not have “extraordinary deviation” from the minimum allowed fares. Prices cannot deviate by 22% prior to the acquisition deal.

*Removal of “See Destination” feature

*Driver/Operator non-exclusivity – Grab is not allowed to introduce policy that would result in drivers and operators being exclusive to the ride-hailing company.

*Incentive monitoring – The PCC will monitor the incentive scheme of Grab to its drivers that may affect its competitors’ conditions of entry.

*Improvement plan – Grab must implement driver performance standards, adopt a passenger code of conduct, dedicated service lines for labor regulations, and a driver rewards’ program.

Any breach of the conditions will subject Grab to fines of up to P2 million per violation. Unwinding the acquisition deal is still a possibility, depending on the gravity of the violation.

The commitments are enforceable starting Friday, the PCC said.

“In effect, while Grab operates as a virtual monopolist, the commitments assure the public that quality and price levels that would prevail are those that had been [there] when they still faced competition in Uber,” PCC Chairman Arsenio Balisacan said.

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