On May 29th, leading transport network operator Grab defend fares charged to the riding public are legal and upfront. Grab Philippines Public Affairs Head Leo Gonzales pointed out that all fares are covered by a Department of Transportation Order in 2015 allowing Transport Network Companies (TNC) like Grab and Uber to set their own fares. This was also reportedly confirmed by the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board in a February 2016 decision declaring the Department Order (DO) “valid, legal and subsisting until nullified by court.”
The LTFRB decision also said the DO was issued to “promote mobility” and respond to the needs of the modern commuter (who is)…able and willing to pay more for better transport services.”
Congressman Jericho Nograles may be rocking the boat for his political ends, not really to protect the riding public. Proof is his own bill in Congress wants the TNCs to set their own fares (Section 11, http://www.congress.gov.ph/legisdocs/basic_17/HB06009.pdf), “exactly what he is opposing now by questioning our fares that are based on the 2015 DO,” Gonzales said.
“Because of his efforts, the Php2 per minute fare component was suspended by LTFRB. This reduced the income of drivers and discouraged them from going out and serving our passengers. That is why we have an extreme lack of vehicles and why the public find it hard to get a ride,” the Grab executive stated further.
This Php2 fare component is legal because it was imposed at the time that the 2015 DO was still in effect, he said. The DO was taken back when a new one was issued in August 2017 requiring all fares to be approved by the LTFRB moving forward.
Gonzales pointed out, “So how can Nograles claim the fares are illegal when the fares have always been upfront and the DO allowing us to set fares with LTFRB’s oversight was in effect? The riding public is suffering because of Nograles’ mistaken claims.”
The DO, according to Grab’s Leo Gonzales, was issued when the ride-hailing service was new and the government at that time was looking for ways to give the public another transport choice.
“That DO actually put the Philippines way ahead in the region as far as support for TNCs and it was the reason the ride-hailing service here blossomed immediately. Unfortunately, we are now back to the real world again because of politics,” he said.