DoTr, LTFRB say not causing Grab driver shortage

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THE Department of Transportation (DoTr) and the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) said they are not causing a shortage of ride-sharing drivers, contrary to the claims of Grab Philippines (MyTaxi.PH).

In a joint statement on Monday, the DoTr and LTFRB urged the company to withdraw its earlier claims that the government is causing its “supply crisis.”

“As DoTr and LTFRB seek ways to expedite to complete the target of 65,000 TNVS (transport network vehicle services units) with the required franchises, it is in Grab’s best interest to engage its own constituency and help clarify the issues,” it said.

The government was responding to an e-mail sent Grab Philippines to its customers last week, which blamed the LTFRB for its difficulties in meeting ride demand. It said the regulator’s master list of 65,000 vehicles, which are the only ones allowed to operate as TNVS, included inactive drivers.

“Grab submitted a proposal to LTFRB to increase the limit of cars to at least 80,500, taking into consideration the number of people trying to get a ride everyday. To date, no action has been taken by the LTFRB,” according to the e-mail.

“The LTFRB must review, clean up, and increase the supply cap of the masterlist,” it added.

The DoTr and LTFRB said, however, that drivers and TNVS should not be mistaken as the same, as TNVS in the master list are registered vehicles which could be operated by any driver.

“Grab seems to confuse drivers with TNVS in determining supply. LTFRB issues franchises or Provisional Authority (PA) to TNVS for them to legally get bookings and accept passengers. Hence, if a TNVS with a PA or franchise cannot run because it does not have driver, it can find a replacement driver,” it said.

It also noted that they recently added 10,000 new vehicles to the master list, and are planning to open applications for new vehicles to take the slots of inactive TNVS in the master list.

“We note Grab sharing its position on these issues in public notwithstanding the frequent, open and cordial dialogue with (transport network companies), including Grab. It makes us wonder… why Grab puts LTFRB on the spot, so to speak and in an uncomfortable position,” the agencies said.

In response, Grab Philippines country head Brian P. Cu in a statement apologized for the confusion and said it was a result of miscommunication.

“We would like to sincerely apologize for any miscommunication brought about by the (e-mail) to targeted recipients. In no way was this (e-mail) meant to undermine the ongoing progress and dialogues being undertaken to add TNVS supply,” he said.

He also praised the LTFRB for “treating this matter with the urgency it deserves.” — Denise A. Valdez