GRAB Philippines (MyTaxi.PH, Inc.) urged the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) to allow around 6,000 Uber Philippines drivers, which the regulator says are not part of its masterlist, to join the ride-hailing service.
In an interview on the sidelines of the BusinessWorld Economic Forum on Friday, Grab Philippines country head Brian P. Cu said there are not enough cars to meet the booking demand in Metro Manila.
“We’re trying to beg, plead with the government. Every week we submit something [to the LTFRB],” Mr. Cu said.
“We’re not even asking them to increase our supply. We’re just saying, ‘Allow these 6,000 [drivers to drive]. It’s still under your cap. You have a 65,000 cap eh. We’re 35,000 [drivers now]. If you allow this, we’ll be 41,000 [drivers] daily active,’” he added.
Grab earlier said there are only 35,000 vehicles available every day to meet the 600,000 passenger booking requests. This includes Grab’s 24,000 active drivers plus 11,000 drivers who were previously affiliated with Uber.
Prior to Grab’s acquisition, Uber Philippnes had 19,000 drivers, but 8,000 drivers were not part of the LTFRB’s masterlist.
Mr. Cu said 6,000 former Uber drivers approached the company to say they weren’t allowed by LTFRB to keep driving, while the remaining 2,000 may have just opted to quit.
Adding the 6,000 drivers to the Grab pool would make it easier for passengers to book rides even during peak hours, Mr. Cu said.
The LTFRB has a transport network vehicle service (TNVS) cap of 65,000 cars allowed to drive in Metro Manila, which is supposed to meet 75% of the demand for vehicles.
In July 2017, the LTFRB formed a masterlist of all active drivers registered Uber and Grab during that period. The plate numbers in this master list are the only ones that can apply for a franchise.
The reason for the gap between the LTFRB masterlist and Uber’s list of drivers in still unknown.
“It could be because the cars that were active during the time of the acquisition [of Grab of Uber] were not active when this masterlist was created,” Mr. Cu said.
Sought for comment, LTFRB Board Member Aileen A. Lizada has yet to respond as of press time.
Despite challenges, Grab is continuing its expansion of services in the Philippines. Mr. Cu said the company is gearing for the launch of GrabFood by next month.
GrabFood is a food delivery service already offered in other countries including Thailand and Indonesia. At present, Grab services in the Philippines only cover GrabTaxi, GrabCar, GrabShare and GrabExpress.
Using the GrabFood app, users may order from restaurants and have it delivered to them by bikes.
“Food was brought up as a priority vertical for the region, not just for Philippines but across the whole Grab. So it was a regional decision that food is the next frontier for us to enter into. Philippines is naturally one of the countries where we’re strong in, so it would be one of the first countries where we would launch food,” Mr. Cu said. — Denise A. Valdez