Vietnam’s leading transport authorities have opposed Grab’s proposal to expand its services to more areas in the country, citing the ride-hailing firm’s trial stages and implicit failure to meet major business conditions.
The GrabTaxi Ltd wanted to operate in many more cities and provinces like those in the Mekong Delta, Central Highlands and south-central regions, beyond the five offically allowed areas of Hanoi, Da Nang, Ho Chi Minh City, Khanh Hoa Province and Quang Ninh Province.
But the Ministry of Transport did not approve the expansion, chiefly because the hitherto dominant ride-hailing competitor in the country is still running its services in trial periods.
The ministry said while it encourages the use of apps for improved service and passengers’ convenience, the support only covers licensed transit companies which have registration stickers on its vehicles’ windshields, demonstrate transparency and fairness in competition, and pay taxes.
The transport administration, however, did not state whether Grab has satisfied any of these conditions.
The ministry also required the enterprise not to recruit taxi drivers without clearances from local transportation authorities.
In January, Grab encountered a rejection after making a similar proposal to offer taxi services in the provinces of Thu Thien-Hue in central Vietnam, Ba Ria-Vung Tau in the south and Lam Dong in the Central Highlands.
Responding to the ministry’s refusal, the company said taxi booking was already integrated in the app approved by the Ministry of Industry and Trade in the beginning, and allowed to be utilized legally nationwide, according to domestic news media.
Grab said its services have actually long been offered in provinces neighboring Ho Chi Minh City although they do not appear in the five-area list for the pilot operation.