Grab driver beaten up as turf war with motorbike taxis continues in Saigon

By Pham Duy   September 26, 2017 | 08:16 pm PT
Traditional xe om drivers repeatedly harp on about being put out of business by ride-hailing services.

A GrabBike driver was attacked by a gang of xe om (motorbike taxi) drivers outside a major bus terminal in Saigon on Monday afternoon who accused him of “stealing” their customers.

The Grab driver was waiting to pick up a customer at An Suong terminal in Hoc Mon District on the outskirts of the city, police said.

An online video shows several motorbike drivers punching him while he keeps asking them to stop and eventually agrees not to take his customer.

The fight was broken up after locals and traffic police intervened, but the Grab driver said he had to receive stitches for his injuries.

Police have said they are considering fining the xe om drivers, but reconciliation measures might be enough.

Malaysia-based Grab entered Vietnam in February 2014 several months before its main rival Uber. Both operate car and motorbike taxi services.

Their market shares have not been disclosed, but other service providers, from taxi companies to xe om drivers, feel threatened.

VnExpress interviewed xe om drivers earlier this year who said they were being elbowed off their own turf by Uber and Grab.

Some even predicted that the newcomers would eventually put traditional drivers out of business.

The turf war has turned violent on multiple ocassions including an incident in June when police had to fire gun shots to break up a fight outside another major bus station in Saigon.

Several videos of drivers fighting with crash helmets have also been shared on social media.

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