As Uber exits, Grab hit by complaints about high rates

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On the day Grab became the dominant player in the ride-hailing industry with Uber’s exit from the country, commuters complained about its exorbitant fares.

The transport network company (TNC), however, stressed that it was not taking advantage of the situation, explaining that its rates were still within the bounds approved by the government.

Still, Grab’s surge pricing during Monday’s morning rush hour shocked a lot of commuters who were forced to look for other forms of transport.

One of them was Joyce Yu who chose to take a bus from North Avenue to Ortigas since Grab was charging her P450 for the trip which would normally cost just P250.

Disappointed passengers

Several netizens also took to Twitter to express their disappointment over Grab’s high fares which ranged from P300 to P600.

A 6.5-kilometer trip from Makati to Manila at 8 a.m., for example, set riders back by almost P300 when hours earlier, the same trip cost only around P150.

Last week, the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) ordered Grab to “immediately” bring down its surge pricing cap from twice the regular rate to just 1.5 times while it was processing the accreditation of new TNCs that would take the place of Uber.

According to Grab Philippines government communications manager Fiona Nicolas, while they have already implemented the new surge rate imposed by the LTFRB, fares may remain high in the meantime due to the limited number of drivers.

“The onboarding of TNVS (transport network vehicle services) is not yet at 100 percent while most, if not all, Uber passengers have already downloaded the Grab app. The onboarding [of drivers] from Uber to Grab is still ongoing,” Nicolas said.

Grab Philippines country head Brian Cu earlier explained that while there had been an increase of up to 70 percent in their passenger bookings, the number of drivers in their system rose only by around 30 percent.

Uber goes offline

On Monday, the Uber app went offline in the country following Grab’s acquisition of its Southeast Asian operations under a March 25 deal.

Uber’s move was also in compliance with the LTFRB’s directive for it to cease operating as a TNC starting April 16 despite an order from the Philippine Competition Commission that it continue serving the public pending a review of its deal with Grab.

To protect the public from a hike in Grab fares, the National Center for Commuter Safety and Protection (NCCSP) called on the LTFRB to speed up its accreditation of new TNCs Lag Go, Hype and Owto.

“It is incumbent on the LTFRB to approve these applications. We think that [the] LTFRB should hurry up so that there will be competition,” NCCSP head Maricor Akol said.

At the same time, the LTFRB called on the public to report to it picky Grab drivers, including those who force passengers to cancel their bookings.

It said that show cause orders would be issued against these drivers who would have to explain why their franchise to operate should not be revoked. –By: Jovic Yee 



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