Grab: 15,000 ‘colorum’ drivers deactivated since start of 2019

Aika Rey
Grab: 15,000 ‘colorum’ drivers deactivated since start of 2019
Grab Philippines president Brian Cu appeals to the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board to 'find ways to quickly increase the number of drivers'

MANILA, Philippines – Ride-hailing giant Grab Philippines on Tuesday, June 11, said that some 15,000 drivers have been deactivated from its platform since the start of the year.

During a hearing held by the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB), Grab Philippines president Brian Cu said that of the supposed 8,000 drivers who were told that they will be removed from the platform by Monday, June 10, only 5,000 were deactivated.

“As of yesterday, there were around 5,000 drivers who were deactivated because [they don’t have] documentation. They weren’t able to submit proof that they walked through the LTFRB process in securing a provisional authority (PA) or a certificate of public convenience (CPC),” Cu told reporters in a press briefing after the hearing.

The remaining 3,000 were able to submit proof to Grab that they are in the process of applying for a PA or CPC. To lawfully operate, drivers and operators need to secure a PA – the initial authorization – and then a CPC.

On top of the 5,000, the ride-hailing firm also removed some 10,000 drivers from January to May this year, bringing the total deactivated units to 15,000.

Cu said during the hearing that they did this to ensure that there are no “colorum” vehicles on their platform.

“This is really because of a regulation that we need to comply with. We have been wanting to comply with this regulation that TNVS (transport network vehicle services) should have [a] PA or [a] CPC to operate,” Grab Philippines spokesperson Nicka Hosaka said.

“But we find it difficult to enforce because we do it manually. We talked to them one by one. We reached out to them,” she added.

To ensure that there will be enough drivers despite the deactivation, Cu said they will roll out a new incentive scheme.

“If there will be 10 cars that drive an extra hour, then it would supplement. It covers the hours lost [due to deactivated vehicles]. Over the next few weeks, we’re trying to structure out incentives and promos to be able to do that,” he said.

More cars needed

In a separate statement on Tuesday, Grab urged the LTFRB “to find ways to quickly increase the number of drivers.”

On Monday, the LTFRB opened 10,000 new slots for the application of a TNVS franchise. All slots were already filled up that day.

“If LTRFB will allow the deactivated drivers to resume work while it processes the application of 10,000 new drivers, that would be the best win for the Filipino people,” Cu said in a statement.

Grab is now left with around 40,000 drivers. Before the deactivation, it had served only 60% to 65% of the total bookings daily.

Grab urged the regulatory board to maximize the 65,000-franchise cap, to be able to allocate more cars to passengers.

With the deactivation of “colorum” vehicles, Cu said passengers will bear the brunt of the inconvenience.

“This inconvenience will be felt even after the 10,000 new slots, as twice that number is necessary to provide the 70% allocation rate they said they (LTFRB) want to maintain,” he said.

But Cu said fares will remain the same, to comply with the conditions set by the Philippine Competition Commission over the March 2018 buyout of Uber’s operations. (READ: Antitrust body OKs Grab-Uber deal, sets conditions)

According to LTFRB Chairman Martin Delgra III, some 5,000 units out of 40,000 have CPCs. The remaining 35,000 have PAs. – 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.