By Denise A. Valdez
HIRNA Mobility Solutions, Inc. started offering transportation options last month when it was accredited by the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) as a transport network company (TNC).
But unlike most TNCs, it offers a solely taxi-based solution, because it believes fixing the public transport system is the real answer to solving traffic congestion.
“Hirna was formed primarily to help elevate taxi services in key cities outside Manila. As having a more efficient public transport system is the real solution to traffic congestion and reducing carbon footprint,” Hirna President Francisco Mauricio told BusinessWorld in an e-mail interview.
The taxi-hailing application has been operational since April. In Davao City, it has about 4,000 taxi units and more than 5,000 drivers. Unlike the dominant player Grab Philippines, Hirna has no booking fees and surge pricing, and gets revenues from the subscription fees of its taxi operators.
Mr. Mauricio said it has not decided whether or not the company will follow a transport network vehicle service (TNVS) model in the future, meaning non-taxi vehicles will be part of its fleet.
Most TNCs in the Philippines follow this model, as pioneered by Uber Philippines and Grab Philippines when the two used to dominate the market.
Hirna’s president, however, said the company will review its business model in two to three months, and may soon charge a minimal booking fee to generate revenues.
But for now, Mr. Mauricio said Hirna won’t enter the Metro Manila market soon. “Our mission is to help elevate taxi services in key cities outside Metro Manila,” he said.
“Instead of being disruptors, we consider ourselves as collaborators. We connect drivers with passengers, unite operators with each other and collaborate with government stakeholders, specifically LGUs (local government units), LTFRB and DoTr (Department of Transportation),” he added.
Hirna is hoping that with its business model, it will change the perception of commuters towards taxis to start seeing it as a “safe, reliable, convenient and affordable mode of transport.”