GRAB Philippines, the dominant ride-sharing company, said it is asking the government to allow it to hire more drivers amid increasing demand due to reduced mobility restrictions.

“We anticipated this situation, and are working with the LTFRB (Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board) to onboard more TNVS (technology- and app-based transport network vehicle service) drivers on the platform,” Grab Philippines said in a statement.

“Last April 12, we received the welcome news that the LTFRB will open a batch of almost 8,000 TNVS slots on April 18 through the TNVS online portal,” it added.

The company expects additional TNVS drivers to be on the road in two to three months. But the additional TNVS slots “are not enough to meet the increasing demand for GrabCar,” it noted.

“Grab continues to work with the LTFRB to add more TNVS slots to better serve the needs of the riding public.”

Grab Philippines has said that as of February 2020, it had around 33,000 active drivers daily.

The number significantly decreased during the pandemic, it said.

“We understand that life is going back to normal, and more Filipinos are going out and taking GrabCar for their everyday commute. Despite Grab Philippines’ efforts to support driver-partners on the platform, the prolonged suspension of ride-hailing during the height of the lockdowns forced thousands of GrabCar driver-partners to give up their cars, or look for alternative income opportunities elsewhere,” it also said.

“This situation has created a serious imbalance in GrabCar’s supply and demand conditions, resulting in fewer GrabCar driver-partners on the road having to serve an ever-increasing number of passengers.”

In March, drivers of ride-hailing services, including Grab, urged the LTFRB to act on their petition to increase base fares by P15 as pump prices continued to rise.

Rates vary depending on the vehicle type. The flag down rate is as much as P40 for sedans and as much as P50 for premium Asian and sport utility vehicles. For hatchback or sub-compact cars, the flag down rate is as much as P30. — Arjay L. Balinbin