THE government is considering moves to allow ride-sharing in more regions, including Mindanao, owing to the lack of transport capacities in these areas.

The Land Transportation and Franchising Regulatory Board (LTFRB) made this announcement on Friday after its regional offices received requests to make Transport Network Vehicles (TNV) available in their areas.

“We want to see the requirements, particularly in region 10 and 12. There’s also [interest] in region 2 and 5,” LTFRB Board Member Aileen A. Lizada told reporters on Friday, referring to provinces in the Mindanao, Bicol, and Cagayan Valley regions.

One thousand TNV units have been allotted for Cebu and 500 in Pampanga, Ms. Lizada said during the fourth anniversary celebration of ride-hailing platform Uber in the Philippines. She added that these allocations will be reviewed every three months.

Uber Philippines also announced its intention to expand its reach to cover Pampanga after the LTFRB announced that it is opening up Cebu and Pampanga for TNVs to operate in.

Since the LTFRB has given an allocation for Pampanga, this means anytime we can launch, Uber Philippines’ Public Policy Head Yves P. Gonzalez said, adding that the platform will have to file an application at LTFRB’s regional office and conduct beta testing which could take one to two months.

While the application is still subject for review, Uber is eyeing to have 250 cars in Pampanga, Mr. Gonzalez said, refusing to answer queries regarding expansion to other areas.

On March 1, the LTFRB and officials of both Uber and Grab are set to discuss the details for the resumption of TNV application processing on March 5.

In July last year, the agency suspended the processing of TNV applications, citing that TNV operators didn’t know the rules.

According to Ms. Lizada, only 59,020 TNV units are currently operating, serving 52% of the demand, from an initial 121,000 units.

“One TNC (Transport Network Company) has an average of 5.5 trips per day. One TNC has 7 average trips per day. We fused them together and we came out with a common base pool of 65,000 in order for the TNVs to serve 75% of the demand,” she explained.

Although the agency is encountering difficulty to keep up with the demand for ridesharing, it will still remove the franchise of TNVs that have been inactive for more than 91 days.

Ms. Lizada said that they would prefer to deal with the issues in Metro Manila before Uber heads out to Pampanga. — Anna G. A. Mogato