By Denise A. Valdez
GRAB Philippines said Wednesday its pool of 35,000 drivers falls far too short to meet the 600,000 passenger demand it receives every day.
After its acquisition of Uber Philippines in March, only 11,000 of 19,000 Uber drivers were able to move to Grab, as some names were not in the master list of drivers of the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB).
“LTFRB has a master list of drivers. Only the names in this master list are allowed to apply in Grab. Since the master list does not reflect all the active drivers Uber used to have, there are now around 6,000 displaced drivers,” Grab Philippines country manager Brian P. Cu said in Filipino.
He said Grab has been requesting the LTFRB to have the 6,000 drivers on-board so the company can come closer to meeting the demands of the riding public.
Before Uber’s shutdown, Grab had a pool of 24,000 cars which were able to accommodate 60 to 65% of bookings. Meanwhile, Uber’s 19,000 vehicles catered to 50% of the demand.
Mr. Cu also noted that the increase in the number of transportation network companies (TNC) does not mean a corresponding increase in the number of cars on the road, since LTFRB has a cap of 65,000 transport network vehicle service (TNVS) allowed to drive.
“There is an increase in TNC, but it doesn’t mean there is an increase in cars. Even when the 600,000 [demand] gets spread out across five different TNCs, the supply wouldn’t change,” he said.
Last month, the LTFRB accredited five new TNCs — Hype Transport Systems, Inc., Hirna, GoLag, Inc. or Owto, and Micab Systems Corp.
Mr. Cu added that the 65,000 TNVS limit set by the LTFRB is intended to service 75% of the demand. He said that right now, they are only able to cater to 53% of the demand, and down to 37% during peak hours.
“We’re under the impression [that there are many cars], we’re under the impression [that drivers are picky], which is not true. Seventy (70%) to 75% of the time, [when you can’t get a ride, it’s because there are no cars], he added.
With the challenges posed by government regulation such as the suspension of the P2-per-minute waiting time charge, Grab said its current base of 35,000 cars is continuously dropping, making it harder to attend to passenger demand and book a ride.
LTFRB board member Aileen A. Lizada appeals for understanding, stressing that ride-hailing is a new denomination for them. “It’s still too early to set rigid rules on a technology that is still being tested first by its newness vis-a-vis the owners, drivers, passengers and competition,” she said.
She added the LTFRB is prioritizing issuing accreditation to TNC applicants, and from there will hold dialogues to address other concerns.