Grab closes Trans-cab acquisition deal in Singapore to combat driver shortages and enhance service offerings across the city-state.

Singapore-based technology group Grab has taken a significant step to address the shortage of drivers amid surging passenger demand post-pandemic. In its first acquisition of a local operator, Grab has secured a deal with Trans-cab, the citys third-largest taxi company, including its fleet of 2,500 vehicles, maintenance workshop, and fuel pump operations.

The agreement, signed by Grab’s car rental unit, aims to boost the number of drivers on Grab’s platform and improve efficiency. The acquisition is expected to enhance the reliability and speed of ride-hailing services for passengers. The transaction is anticipated to conclude between October and December, pending regulatory approval.

Grab’s Singapore managing director, Yee Wee Tang, stated that the new system for Trans-cab drivers will enable them to receive bookings from both Grab’s ride-hailing platform and the existing call centre of the taxi firm.

Singapore Grab acquisition

Trans-cab, established in 2003, holds the third position among Singapore’s taxi companies, trailing behind ComfortDelGro and Strides, which is a division of local transit operator, SMRT. While Grab had discussions in 2017 to buy SMRT’s taxi business, the deal did not come to fruition. Last year, there were reports of Grab initiating talks to acquire Prime Taxi, the smallest operator in the country.

According to Trans-cab General Manager Jasmine Tan, Grab’s cutting-edge technology will enable their taxi drivers to operate more efficiently and provide improved service to passengers.

The taxi and ride-hailing industry in Singapore has grappled with a driver shortage since pandemic-induced lockdowns kept people at home, leading to a demand-supply imbalance and fare hikes. Additionally, the cost of acquiring certificates of entitlement has surged in Singapore since last year, further impacting the industry. Singapore is also bracing for a significant increase in the number of arrivals to the city this year, projected to be between 12 and 14 million, approximately double the figure recorded in 2022.

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