Grab says it lost money during Uber's suspension

Cathy Yang, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Sep 21 2017 02:43 PM | Updated as of Sep 21 2017 02:57 PM

MANILA - Grab Philippines Country Manager Brian Cu said Thursday the company actually lost money, when it took in Uber drivers when Uber was suspended. 

Cu told ANC that when Uber was suspended, the demand for Grab's services shot up 80 percent and their supply of drivers was not able to keep up.

"We had to incentivize drivers to go on board (the Grab platform) to come online to support that demand," Cu said adding that they also put a cap on surge pricing. 

Grab allocated $1 million for this program, which was used up in those two weeks that its rival ride-sharing service was suspended. 

"We're not looking to recover it. We're still in investment mode," Cu said.

He said some Uber drivers chose to stay on the Grab platform. 

Cu said Grab is still absorbing losses and they don't see the company breaking even soon after the two-month intense run-in with regulators. 

The Philippines is the first Grab market in Southeast Asia where it paid a fine to regulators, but Cu said this was all part of being in a 'disruptive business'.

"In most of disruptive industries, in most markets, regulation will always follow innovation. Innovators will always lead. Regulators will have to catch up."

Cu vowed to be more transparent with the LTFRB going forward, rather than unilaterally decide on anything on the TNVS, inform LTFRB first. 

Despite the run-in with regulators, Cu said Grab PH is here to stay.

Last Sept. 6, the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) said it will increase the franchise validity of units operating under ride-hailing services Grab, Uber and U-Hop from 1 to 3 years.