House bill proposes ban on Uber, Grab price surges

Chrisee Dela Paz
House bill proposes ban on Uber, Grab price surges
Aside from banning price surges, the proposed bill would also put a cap in the number of vehicles under each transport network company

MANILA, Philippines – Quezon City 2nd District Rep. Winston “Winnie” Castelo has filed House Bill No. 4669 or the No Price Surge Act, banning the “exorbitant” and “undue” ride rate surges by transport network companies (TNCs), like Uber and Grab.

Castelo on Monday, December 26 slammed the price surging of Uber and Grab, saying the practice is unfair and predatory for the riding public.

This was after the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) received complaints about price surges ranging from P2,000 to P28,000 this holiday season.

Because of the complaints, Grab and Uber would put a cap to its pricing this holiday season. (READ: After LTFRB warning, Uber PH limits surge until January 15)

“The said bill, if approved, will permanently protect the helpless the commuters from undue and exorbitant price fixing by [Uber and Grab],” Castelo said.

Aside from banning price surges, Castelo said the bill would also put a cap in the number of vehicles under each TNC.

In the Philippines, ride-hailing applications such as Grab or Uber are categorized as TNC. All vehicles under TNC must get permits from the LTFRB, which also grants and denies permits for taxis, buses, and other public transport vehicles.

Not different from ‘contracting’

Castelo, who is the chairman of the House Committee on Metro Manila Development, said the price surging “makes Uber and Grab not so different with the much complained taxis that resort to ‘contracting’ instead of using the meter.”

“While we thought that these providers serve as a better mode of public transportation for our people, they appear to be just the same with or worse than erring taxi cabs that charge passengers more than what the meter says,” Castelo added.

Under the price surge practice, passengers of Uber and Grab can be charged as high as thrice the price of the usual rate when traffic condition is bad and demand for their service is high.

“So how does the transport network vehicle service industry now become a friendly alternative each time this unfortunate situation happens to their poor patrons?” Castelo asked.

He said “there should be a limit to the number of vehicles to avoid road congestion otherwise our efforts to ease traffic in Metro Manila would be rendered useless.”

As the taxi industry has no monopoly of abusive and discourteous drivers, Castelo said he found it necessary for Uber, Grab drivers to undergo proper training.

“This will help make sure that they truly make the difference. A polite and smart driver is as important as arriving safely in one’s destination,” the lawmaker said. – Rappler.com

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