THE Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) said it is conducting ongoing discussions to streamline fares for all transport network vehicle services (TNVS), a process which may invalidate Grab Philippines’ petitions to raise fares and reimpose its P2 per-minute trip duration charge.
“The Board is actually discussing the rationalization of fare structures of TNVS or TNCs (transport network companies)…. Hopefully, when the Board will be able to come up with a rationalized fare structure for the TNVS, the Grab petitions may be moot and academic,” LTFRB Chairman Martin B. Delgra III told reporters in a chance interview on Wednesday.
The LTFRB is responding to an order from the Department of Transportation (DoTr) issued in June authorizing the body to set fares for TNVS, among other regulatory responsibilities.
Department Order No. 2018-013 said the new fares “shall be determined by the LTFRB, after a public hearing or in consultation with the TNCs and TNVS.”
Mr. Delgra said the Board has conducted two such meetings focusing on the fares for TNVS offering sedan services.
“Part of the discussion is actually the impact of the fare structure not only on the drivers’ side… as you know, any increase in transport cost will have a direct relation on inflation,” he said.
He also noted there are ongoing inter-agency meetings with the Department of Labor and Employment (DoLE), Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) and the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) ”to discuss socio and financial impact of any fare increase, not just on TNVS but also by the other modes of public transport which have pending petitions for fare hikes.”
Grab Philippines has pending applications in the LTFRB to impose higher fares and reimpose its P2 per minute charge, which was suspended in April due to its alleged lack of legal basis. The fare hike was deemed necessary due to the excise tax on fuel that came with the tax reform law, which the company expects to impact its drivers.
Mr. Delgra said both of the petitions are still scheduled for hearing this month.
Grab was asked for comment on the prospects for its petitions but had not responded at deadline time. — Denise A. Valdez