LTFRB to Grab: Explain ‘illegal’ P2-per-minute travel charge

Aika Rey
LTFRB to Grab: Explain ‘illegal’ P2-per-minute travel charge
(UPDATED) The Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board orders Grab Philippines to explain why its transportation network company accreditation should not be suspended or cancelled over the allegation

MANILA, Philippines (UPDATED) – The Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) has issued a show-cause order against Grab Philippines over its alleged “illegal” P2-per-minute travel charge.

The LTFRB said in its order on Wednesday, April 11, that My Taxi.PH, the registered company of Grab, needs to explain in writing within 5 days from receipt of the order why its transportation network company accreditation should not be suspended or cancelled over the allegations.

LTFRB Chairman Martin Delgra III also confirmed this to Rappler on Thursday morning, April 12. The board will hold a hearing on the issue on April 17.

On Tuesday, April 10, PBA Representative Jericho Nograles accused the transport network company (TNC) of illegally charging its customers on top of its government-approved pricing scheme. 

In response to the lawmaker’s claim, Grab Philippines issued a statement explaining that travel duration charges were already incorporated in its upfront prices.

A December 2016 order regulated ride-hailing services fares, allowing Grab to charge a flagdown rate of P40, with an additional P10 to P14 per kilometer travel. The order does not include travel duration charges. (READ: Did Grab ‘illegally’ charge its riders higher fare?)

On Tuesday, the regulatory board also ordered Grab to lower its surge pricing cap from multiplied by two times to only 1.5 times the normal fare.

This is the LTFRB’s latest move in its bid to regulate fares of ride-hailing services.

‘Spare’ Grab drivers

In a text message sent to Rappler on Thursday, Nograles said the show-cause order will allow Grab to prove the “legality” of the  additional charges. 

He said, however, that drivers should be spared if Grab is sanctioned.

“The show-cause order for Grab to appear before the en banc Board will allow Grab to prove the legality of the charges they imposed without knowledge of the drivers and riders. If ever the Board sanctions Grab, I hope that they will spare the innocent drivers of the refund and penalties,” Nograles said.

Grab drivers are concerned about the allegation as they expect to bear brunt of the refund if the LTFRB deems the charges as illegal, according to Grab driver Winson Esteras.

Esteras was interviewed by the media on the sidelines of the LTFRB hearing with Grab and Uber on Wednesday.

“Ang balik noon sa amin eh, sa aming mga driver na bumibiyahe sa Metro Manila, sa amin kukunin ‘yun. Hindi lang naman sa mga TNC. Dapat hindi na niya pinapakiaalaman dahil ang government agency na kumakatawan sa transportation is LTFRB na pumayag sa per minute na pamasahe,” Esteras said, arguing that LTFRB allowed the P2-per-minute charges.

(That [refund] will be sourced from us, the drivers who offer services in Metro Manila, not only from the TNCs. He  [Nograles] shouldn’t intervene because the government agency that represents transportation is the LTFRB which allowed the per minute fare scheme.)

The LTFRB said in its show-cause order to Grab, however, that it did not authorize the additional travel charge.  – Rappler.com

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Aika Rey

Aika Rey is a business reporter for Rappler. She covered the Senate of the Philippines before fully diving into numbers and companies. Got tips? Find her on Twitter at @reyaika or shoot her an email at aika.rey@rappler.com.