GRAB Philippines (MyTaxi.PH, Inc.) has filed a formal petition with the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) to allow it to again levy the P2 per minute travel time charge which was suspended last month.
In a Facebook post, Grab Philippines country head Brian P. Cu announced that the company submitted the petition on Tuesday, saying that reimposing the P2 per minute charge is fair because other transport network companies (TNC) implement the same charge.
Addressing Grab drivers, Mr. Cu said, “Gusto namin malaman nyo (We want you to know), that we are doing what we can para matulungan kayo (to help you).” He said he acknowledges that the costs of fuel and car maintenance have been a burden to Grab’s drivers.
In the petition, the ride-hailing company raised the idea that the suspension implies a bias against Grab, because after disallowing Grab from making the charge, the LTFRB accredited five new TNCs, four of which make the same P2 per minute charge on their passengers. These are Hype, Hirna, GoLag, and Owto.
It added that even taxis are allowed to charge the same amount for time travel, aside from the P40 flagdown rate and the P13.50 per kilometer rate.
It also noted that other TNCs will be drawing from the same pool of transport network vehicle services (TNVS) that Grab draws its drivers from. Grab said that this gives other TNCs the advantage as drivers may opt to join them instead of Grab for the P2 per minute charge, which is suspended for Grab.
Citing the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices law which says it is illegal for government officers and employees to cause “undue injury,” or give “any unwarranted benefits, advantage or preference” to any private party, Grab said the LTFRB has certainly caused undue injury and prejudice to the company with the suspension.
LTFRB Board Member Aileen A. Lizada told reporters that they are still discussing the petition.
On April 19, the LTFRB suspended Grab’s P2 per minute charge in response to an accusation from Rep. Jericho Jonas B. Nograles that the company was illegally charging its customers. Grab appealed for a motion for reconsideration a day later, but the LTFRB has not yet resolved it.
Grab made mention of it in the petition, saying the lack of a resolution from the LTFRB on the motion for reconsideration means Grab “has the legal authority” to reimpose the P2 per minute charge. But in a message to reporters, they clarified that it hasn’t been reimposed yet.
In January, Grab filed a petition with the LTFRB for a 5% fare hike, saying then that recently approved Tax Reform for Acceleration and Inclusion (TRAIN) law would harm its drivers because of the excise tax on fuel.
Grab’s current per-kilometer charge is P10 to P14. In the petition, it was asking to raise this to P11 to P15 per kilometer and increase the P2 per minute charge to P2.10.
“This fare hike that we are asking for is only fair considering the fare range LTFRB approved for other TNCs. Until now, we are waiting for a response from the (LTFRB) Board about this petition,” Mr. Cu wrote in Filipino in his Facebook post.
The per-kilometer charge of the new TNCs range from P12 to P17. — Denise A. Valdez