THE LAND Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) has ordered transport network company (TNC) Grab Philippines (MyTaxi.PH, Inc.) to suspend its P2 per-minute waiting time charge.
The LTFRB ordered the ride-sharing company to immediately suspend the charge until further order from the Board.
The issue stemmed from the remarks of PBA Representative Jericho Jonas B. Nograles, who earlier said Grab owes its riders P1.8 billion for the last five months due to “illegal” P2 per-minute charges.
Grab said it will file a motion for reconsideration of LTFRB’s order suspending the imposition of P2 per minute fare component, noting that the charge is legal and its drivers will not earn enough without it — which can consequently result to fewer vehicles.
“If the P2 per-minute fare component is stopped, Grab said drivers will not earn enough and will be left with no option but to leave their job as a TNVS [transport network vehicle service], resulting in even fewer vehicles for the riders,” Grab said in a statement.
“If this happens, it will take longer for riders to get a ride, and if there are not enough cars, surge may go up. Other passengers booking from far locations may be left unallocated.”
Grab had said it is allowed to unilaterally change fares based on the Department Order 2015-011 by the then-Department of Transportation and Communication which says “fares are set by the TNC and is subject to oversight by the LTFRB in cases of abnormal disruptions from the market.” It also said that they informed the agency about the said fare last August.
“This unilateral fare-setting prerogative was taken away in 2017 in a new department order but fares set before that will remain and only future adjustments are covered,” country head Brian Cu said in a statement. “The 2015 order did not require TNCs to file petition on fares; neither were we required to inform LTFRB. Even so, we still informed LTFRB during a technical working group meeting and in an official e-mail.”
The company admitted on April 18 that the increase was not communicated to riders, but said the final fare was still reflected in the app when a rider tries to book a ride.
Last week, the LTFRB on Wednesday also ordered Grab Philippines to lower its surge rate to 1.5x from 2x.
Board Member Aileen Lourdes A Lizada said this is “while the petitions for accreditation of other TNCs are being processed.”
The LTFRB earlier this week accredited taxi-hailing company Hirna Mobility Solutions, Inc. and ride-sharing company Hype Transport Systems, Inc. — Patrizia Paola C. Marcelo