Uber and Grab drivers struggle to pick up customers

By Thi Ha   May 9, 2016 | 01:14 am PT
Uber and Grab drivers struggle to pick up customers
The battle in Vietnam’s auto transportation industry is becoming fiercer for both traditional taxi firms and new services like Uber and Grab.

A taxi driver told VnExpress that he quit his job of five years to work for Grab. At first, the company helped him make a stable income, but now it has introduced stricter regulations after seeing the number of drivers go up.

“Recently, driver numbers have increased sharply. The drivers are no longer subsidized by the company so my monthly income has halved.”

“On April 30, [Vietnam’s Reunification Day], I made only two short-distance trips. If this situation continues, I might shift to another taxi firm,” he added.

Thoai, another driver who works for Uber, said that his income has also halved compared to last year. He used to earn VND1.5 million ($67.5) per day but that has fallen to about VND800,000. Thoai said this is due to both the high number of Uber drivers as well as cut-throat competition from traditional taxi firms.

Dang Viet Dung, general manager of Uber Vietnam, said in March that the number of Uber drivers was about 15,000, of which only 50 percent drove regularly. Most of the rest work part-time while some only drive several times per year.

To attract more customers, both Uber and Grab are applying discount programs with prices around VND7,000 ($0.3) per kilometer, while that figure in regular taxis can be over VND10,000.

Uber and Grab have been in the Vietnamese market for two years but many local companies still view their operations as illegal because they are not controlled by any laws. Vietnam’s Directorate for Roads is writing a new draft decree to control Grab and Uber car services.

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