Drivers ask gov’t to lift order suspending Grab, Uber applications

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DRIVERS who earn from ride-hailing platforms on Friday asked government to lift an order that stopped authorities from receiving and processing applications of car owners who signed up on Grab and/or Uber.

The petition, which showed thousands of digital and physical signatures of both Uber and Grab drivers, was filed on Friday at the the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB), exactly one year after the same agency stopped receiving applications for transport network vehicle services (TNVS). The new transport category was created in 2015 to accommodate vehicles whose owners wished to sign up on either Grab and/or Uber.

The petition, which was received by Transport undersecretary Thomas Orbos, was filed a day after transportation network company (TNC) Grab filed for a motion for reconsideration at the LTFRB.

During a press conference organized by several drivers groups, their leaders showed an online petition initiated by driver Bobby Coronel, hosted at that garnered 122,887 signatures (*as of the time of the press conference), and physical signatures of 4,649 TNVS riders. The groups also presented a collation of signatures representing 12,536 drivers.

“We want the LTFRB to know…that we earn our living honestly,” Coronel, who heads the drivers’ group Top Speed, said in Filipino.

Although all drivers agreed that the suspension threatens their employment, they were nevertheless divided when asked about placing limits on the number of cars signed up on ride-hailing platforms.

Just this week, the LTFRB convened the first technical working group on the issue with the intercession of Senators Grace Poe and Joseph Victor G. Ejercito.

As a result, vehicles which haven’t filed or have yet to complete their applications were allowed to continue operating.

Meanwhile, in an interview with radio station dzMM, LTFRB board member Aileen Lizada said that the agency was unable to track down the accreditation papers of Uber and Grab.

Lizada confirmed the statement in a text message sent to BusinessWorld: “When we assumed our position, the case folders were no longer there.” — Patrizia Paola Marcelo