Vietnam authorities a spoke in Grab’s wheel

By Dat Nguyen   August 25, 2018 | 09:45 am GMT+7
Vietnam authorities a spoke in Grab’s wheel
Ride-hailing Grab can only operate in five provinces and cities in Vietnam. Photo by Reuters

Ride-hailing firm Grab has accused provincial authorities in Khanh Hoa of discriminatory treatment, thwarting its expansion plans.

Khanh Hoa suspended Grab from piloting its services in the central province, and the firm has expressed its dissatisfaction over the way it has been treated.

Since last year, Grab has been eyeing to expand its service in Khanh Hoa, famous for travel hot spot Nha Trang, the beach city.

Grab Vietnam said that it has contacted Khanh Hoa authorities nine times either in face-to-face meetings or with letters about its plan to expand in the province.

But, so far, provincial authorities “have not given any clear instructions,” Grab said.

The ride-sharing service said that the province was treating it unfairly compared with local taxi firms that have been allowed to pilot their ride-hailing services.

The firm cited a document it received from the Khanh Hoa Transport Department in April last year, which said that it would “suspend Grab’s pilot ride-hailing service to focus on piloting Vinasun and Sun Taxi with 100 vehicles.”

Vinasun Taxi and Sun Taxi are two traditional taxi firms active in the south of Vietnam. Vinasun was established in 2003, and Sun Taxi in 2013.

Even though the department asserted that it would not allow any other taxi firm to pilot the ride-hailing service in Khanh Hoa province, it approved a third local transport service to pilot a ride-hailing app in November last year, Grab said.

“The Khanh Hoa transport department has suspended the operation of GrabCar in the province but later allowed another firm to pilot its service. This has created unfairness between firms which provide ride-hailing service software,” it said. 

But Nguyen Van Dan, Director of the Khanh Hoa Transport Department, said the suspension came after Grab had committed multiple violations.

The Ministry of Transport allows Grab to operate only in five cities and provinces: Hanoi and Quang Ninh province in the north, Khanh Hoa province and Da Nang city in the central and Ho Chi Minh City in the south.

But it doesn’t permit the ride-sharing firm to directly contact local drivers before local authorities give the green light.

“However, Grab has directly worked with drivers to install the ride-hailing application before we gave it permission,” Dan said.

Grab also did not report the results of its activities to the department as required, Dan said, adding that it doesn’t have an office and a representative in the province to cooperate with local authorities.

“We have invited Grab to meet on a number of occasions, but it neither showed up nor sent any report of its pilot services in the city,” he added.

In June, the Ministry of Transport disapproved Grab’s request for its GrabTaxi service to expand to the southern provinces of Ninh Thuan, Dong Thap and the central highlands province of Gia Lai.

 
 
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