After LTFRB warning, Uber PH limits surge until January 15

Rappler.com
After LTFRB warning, Uber PH limits surge until January 15
At the same time, the Philippine-based office of the US tech giant hopes government will soon lift the suspension of applications for transportation network vehicle services

MANILA, Philippines – Following a warning from the country’s transportation regulatory body, Uber Philippines on Sunday, December 25, announced it would “implement a limit on surge to make rides more affordable during the busy holiday season.”

The day prior, the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) warned both Uber and Grab Philippines their accreditation may be cancelled if “unreasonable surges” of rates persist.

The LTFRB had reportedly gotten complaints about price surges ranging from P2,000 to P28,000 this holiday season.

In the Philippines, vehicles using applications such as Grab or Uber are categorized as transport network vehicle services (TNVS). All vehicles must get permits from the LTFRB, which also grants and denies permits for taxis, buses, and the like.

Grab had earlier announced it would put a cap to its pricing from December 14 to January 30.

Pricing, permits

Uber Philippines had recently changed its method of informing riders about the price of trips. Just before the holiday rush, Uber removed the surge notification – which tells passengers how much fares have increased from the norm – and replaced it with an “upfront” fare similary to Grab’s.

But Uber’s upfront fare could still change, depending on several factors such as a route change, the addition of multiple stops, or the worsening of traffic during the trip.

The LTFRB said Uber did not consult the regulatory body over the “upfront fares based on predictions.”

In its statement, however, Uber said it has been in “frequent dialogues with the LTFRB” since TNVS applications were suspended in July 2016.

Uber said it wanted “to find workable solutions to meet the increasing demand for ridesharing options and avoid price increases brought about by disproportionate supply and demand, longer wait times for riders, or having no available cars on the road.”

“We have seen increasing demand for Uber rides this holiday season, yet vehicle availability remained stagnant. We are optimistic that the LTFRB will soon lift the suspension on new TNVS applications, allowing more people to enjoy safe, reliable and affordable rides in the Philippines,” the tech company said.

It added: “In the meantime, we will continue working on making prices as affordable as possible in compliance with the LTFRB’s statement [on December 24].” – Rappler.com

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