Grab: We'll do everything until P10M fine is reversed
MANILA, Philippines – Ride-hailing giant Grab Philippines maintained the controversial P2-per-minute charge they imposed was legal, saying they will appeal the P10 million fine.
The Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) reversed an earlier decision requiring Grab to reimburse its riders of past P2-per-minute charges. But the regulatory board stood firm on imposing a P10 million fine over the "illegal" charge.
"We are going to bring this up to the DOTr (Department of Transportation) as a next step, and so on and so forth, until the decision is reversed or a final resolution is reached," Grab spokesperson Leo Gonzales told reporters on Wednesday, September 5.
"Either way, we plan to exhaust all [administrative and legal] means to resolve the issue," he added.
Grab has 15 days to file their appeal since they received the order on Tuesday, September 4. (READ: Did Grab 'illegally' charge its riders higher fare?)
Gonzales said that the ride-hailing company followed the law when they first implemented the charge.
"We had all the legal basis to uphold and [have] followed the DO (Department Order) that was in effect at the time. And we just did the right thing and we're just defending our right," he said.
Grab said that the reversal of the reimbursement order supports the fact that they "did not do anything illegal." LTFRB scrapped the reimbursement order "on the lack of legal basis."
The controvery started when PBA party list Representative Jericho Nograles revealed the "illegal charges" in April. The lawmaker's allegation prompted an LTFRB hearing and the suspension of the charge.
But Grab has sinced appealed to the LTFRB to lift the suspension of the charge, saying that drivers have suffered through low earnings in the past 4 months.
"The lifting of the suspension of the P2-per-minute fare component will make our TNVS (transport network vehicle services) partners see a path towards more sustainable income and will help end the wait for passengers who deserve a ride when and where it is needed," Gonzales said.
"We respectfully ask the Board to immediately restore the P2 per minute time component, so that TNVS partners who went offline will be encouraged to go back and help address the TNVS supply crisis," he added.
Under the government-approved scheme issued in December 2016, Grab can only charge a flagdown rate of P40 and an additional P10 to P14 per kilometer.
The ride-hailing app implemented the P2-per-minute travel duration charge on June 5, 2017, prior to the issuance of a DOTr order which allowed LTFRB to regulate fares by transportation network companies.
The DOTr on June 11 issued an order giving LTFRB the full authority over fare regulation of ride-hailing companies. – Rappler.com