By Denise A. Valdez
LOCAL transportation network company (TNC) Hirna Mobility Solutions, Inc. is set to expand its operations outside Davao, starting with Iligan City and Cagayan De Oro.
In an interview with BusinessWorld, Hirna President Francisco “Coco” Mauricio said the taxi-hailing firm is preparing to enter new markets after its success in his hometown of Davao.
“Right now in Davao we have about 4,000 (taxis). And then we’re launching right now in Bacolod, Iloilo,” he said.
Hirna already has a fleet of 600 taxis in Cagayan De Oro, and 100 taxis in Iligan City. It targets to be fully operational in these locations within the month.
For its expansion in Iloilo, it currently has 800 taxis already, and 400 taxis for Bacolod. The company is currently conducting training for drivers in these areas, and will launch operations by the third week of July.
After Bacolod and Iloilo, Hirna will also enter the cities of Cebu, Bohol and Baguio by July or August, Mr. Mauricio said.
“We’re trying to stay faithful to our mission which is to elevate the public transportation network in the provinces, outside Manila,” he said.
Hirna is one of the TNCs accredited by the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) in April. It was expected to compete with Grab Philippines (MyTaxi.PH) after the Malaysian company bought the Southeast Asia operations of Uber.
Unlike other TNCs, Hirna follows a taxi-based framework and doesn’t have private cars in its fleet.
Prior to securing the accreditation from LTFRB, Hirna has started its operations in Davao in 2017. It worked with Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio in its efforts to provide ride-hailing services to the residents of the city.
The company had previously said it has no intention of entering the Metro Manila market. “At that time kasi there’s Uber and Grab, these things. Medyo okay naman sila dito, okay naman yung Manila [They seemed okay in Manila], Mr. Mauricio said.
But he noted the company is getting lots of requests now to offer their services to the country’s capital. Since then, he said the company has started considering moving to Manila too.
“We just have to stay faithful to our mission right now, (which is) to elevate first the provinces and then eventually we’ll go to Manila. We’ll see what happens here,” Mr. Mauricio said.