Grab calls on LTFRB to allow deactivated drivers temporarily

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GRAB Philippines (MyTaxi.PH, Inc.) is calling on the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) to temporarily allow drivers who were deactivated from the platform Monday to resume driving.

“The best scenario for the Filipino people, is to have more drivers which results in passenger convenience, and less traffic as car owners will just need to hail a ride, instead of bringing their cars out. If LTRFB will allow the deactivated drivers to resume work while it processes the application of 10,000 new drivers, that would be the best win for the Filipino people,” Grab Philippines President Brian P. Cu was quoted in a statement as saying.

LTFRB Chairman Martin B. Delgra III was asked to comment on Grab’s request but had not replied at deadline time.

The ride-hailing firm appeared before the government regulator in a hearing yesterday to explain its announcement last week that it will deactivate 8,000 drivers from its platform for failing to secure a Certificate of Public Convenience (CPC) or Provisional Authority (PA) to operate as a transport network vehicle service (TNVS).

Mr. Cu said Grab removed around 5,000 drivers from its platform on Monday after it said several TNVS showed proof they are acquiring the necessary documents in order to keep operating.

“We actually received 3,000 documents; 3,000 drivers submitted documents showing proof that they have a PA and they’ve gone through the process of acquiring a franchise. So the deactivation was not 8,000, it was a lower number…,” Mr. Cu said at the hearing, which was streamed live online.

The company also noted it has removed up to 10,000 drivers since January, as the LTFRB earlier ordered Grab to remove from its platform drivers that do not have a CPC or PA.

“We’ve been selectively deactivating, but we did not do it large scale… The reason we can do it now in large scale is because we have a list,” Mr. Cu said, referring to the 10,000 drivers it removed in a staggered manner since January and the 5,000 drivers it removed Monday.

Grab said it now has more than 35,000 drivers with PAs and more than 5,000 drivers with CPCs in its pool of TNVS.

“As painful and inconvenient as this is, making sure that the vehicles on the Grab platform all have the legal right to service passengers (is important). This was made clear to us in the various meetings with the LTFRB and in Congress,” Mr. Cu said.

Also on Monday, the LTFRB opened the application for 10,000 new TNVS slots. But Grab said this still wouldn’t be sufficient to make up for the drivers lost from its network.

“This inconvenience will be felt even after the 10,000 new slots (are filled), as twice that number is necessary to provide the 70% allocation rate they said they want to maintain,” Mr. Cu said, referring to the LTFRB’s target fulfillment of TNVS demand. — Denise A. Valdez