GRAB Philippines has resumed its taxi services in Baguio and Naga on Friday, implementing the cashless payment mandated by the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB).

“Starting May 22, around 400 taxi drivers from Baguio and Naga Cities will resume plying the roads, implementing cashless transactions during rides,” Grab said in a statement on Friday.

Grab said it had trained about 7,000 taxi drivers to carry out cashless transactions in preparation for the resumption of public transportation nationwide.

According to the Transportation department, the LTFRB has issued Memorandum Circular No. 2020-018 mandating the collection of fares in taxi units and transportation network vehicle services (TNVS) as “strictly through cashless payment or through online payment facility only.”

“Aside from mitigating the spread of infection brought about by the exchange of cash, adapting cashless payments coupled with the Grab platform’s robust contact-tracing system with the Department of Health will also allow for improved contact-tracing capabilities especially in public transportation such as taxis,” Grab said further.

Grab Philippines President Brian P. Cu was quoted as saying: “As we move towards the new reality, we would need to make significant adjustments in many aspects of our lives so that we can protect both the lives and livelihoods of our kababayans. Over a short period of time, we were able to help our taxi drivers — who are previously cash-based and meter-based, embrace digitalization, and adapt to cashless.”

“We believe that by adopting cashless payment for public transportation, we will reduce the risk of spreading the infection through cash, but likewise improve our contact tracing capability,” he added. — Arjay L. Balinbin