LTFRB limits Uber, Grab cars plying Metro Manila, nearby provinces to 45,000

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After months of consultation, the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) has finally come up with a common pool of app-based drivers, but transport network company (TNC) Grab is not too happy with it, pointing out that the number the LTFRB arrived at might make it harder for commuters to book a ride.

Based on LTFRB’s Memorandum Circular No. 2018-003, which sets up a common supply base for transport network vehicle services (TNVS), TNCs will now be limited to just 45,000 cars in Metro Manila and nearby provinces of Bulacan, Rizal, Laguna and Cavite.

In Metro Cebu, only 500 cars will be allowed to operate, while in Pampanga the LTFRB only allotted 200 cars.

‘Conservative approach’

The LTFRB took a “conservative approach” to the data provided by the TNCs to arrive at the 45,000 and 500 figures, according to transport regulatory board member Aileen Lizada.

The data included the number of part-time and full-time drivers and those registered in both Uber and Grab.

She said they also took into account the churning rate of drivers, or those who decided to quit driving.

The order comes six months after the LTFRB ordered TNCs to stop accepting TNVS applications while it sorts out issues concerning the ride-hailing industry.

In their talks with the TNCs, the LTFRB found out that there are an estimated 125,000 drivers in Metro Manila, half of which are registered in both Uber and Grab.

Given the data presented to them, Lizada said they believed that not all of the 125,000 drivers were active.

“We have stirred away from the exclusivity of the TNVS. If you are granted a franchise, you can seek accreditation in any TNC. Gauging on what they (TNCs) gave us, we arrived at with these numbers,” Lizada said.

‘Uniqueness’

She noted though that given the “uniqueness” of the ride-hailing industry, they will review and sit down with the TNCs every three months “to replenish the common base and listen to other concerns.”

No Uber comment

While Uber said it would defer any comment for now as it studies the impact of the LTFRB’s order on their operations, Grab on Friday said it was saddened by the board’s decision and would seek to appeal it.

“It does not reflect the demand that is growing. Not everyone goes online everyday. In order to cover demand, there should be a pool of around 75,000 to 85,000,” Grab Philippines public affairs head Leo Gonzales said yesterday.

He warned that because of the common supply pool arrived at by the LTFRB, the difficulty of getting rides “would be more prevalent.”

In effect, he said, commuters would have to bear higher fares due to the longer period of price surges.

“While they embrace the new technology, it is important that they understand the technology needs to survive through business that is viable. If we serve the drivers well they serve the public well,” he said.-By: Jovic Yee



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