Bam Aquino seeks to clarify new policies on Uber, GrabCar
MANILA, Philippines – Senator Paolo Benigno "Bam" Aquino IV wants to investigate the enforcement of government’s new programs and policies on application-based, ride-sharing service providers in the country, such as Uber and GrabCar.
The senator filed Senate Resolution No. 1508, seeking to clarify how the Department of Transportation and Communications (DOTC) and Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) crafted policies for new transportation categories.
This was a day before the LTFRB starts its clampdown on unregistered Internet application-based transport systems. The regulator will impose a fine of P200,000 ($4,283.68) and vehicle impoundment of 3 months for operators who are plying and earning from the service of public transportation, without the requisite franchise.
In May, the Philippine government introduced new transport categories aimed at easing traffic congestion. One of these is the Transportation Network Vehicle Service (TNVS), which are vehicles of application-based, ride-sharing service providers, like Uber, GrabTaxi, Tripda, and EasyTaxi.
“There is a need to delineate and clarify the various transportation policies pertaining to the different transport administration components such as planning, policy making, data management, and enforcement,” Aquino, chairman of the Senate Committee on Trade, Commerce, and Entrepreneurship, said in a statement.
“The main challenge of the different government agencies and offices is to align their rules and regulations, as well as policies, in order to solve the worsening traffic conditions in Metro Manila,” the senator added.
Lack of communication
In his resolution, Aquino said the lack of communication between the DOTC and LTFRB underscores a National Center for Transportation Studies report. This, according to the senator, shows the inability to coordinate overlapping functions among transportation and traffic related units of the national and local government.
“The department order was issued in response to the call of Uber, GrabTaxi, other similar Internet application-based transportation networks, and the public to recognize this innovative technology and be able to operate legally,” Aquino said.
“Let us continue supporting emerging industries and new business models, especially in our public transportation system that will enhance competition and provide better service to our fellow Filipinos,” he added.
On Wednesday, August 19, LTFRB authorized US-based Uber as the second company in the Philippines to operate under new rules governing application-based ride-sharing service providers. (READ: LTFRB to start unregistered Uber, GrabCar clampdown)
GrabCar secured its accreditation as TNC in July. (READ: GrabCar becomes Philippines' first authorized ride-sharing app)
Despite the accreditation, Uber and GrabCar partners will still have to apply for TNVS franchise.
Sought for comment, Uber spokesperson Karun Arya said in an email: "We are committed to ensuring every one of our thousands of partner-drivers fulfill all the requirements under the TNC/TNVS regulations issued in May."
TNVS applications of Uber partners, according to Arya, are now being submitted on a daily basis to LTFRB.
"Due to the sheer volume of drivers on our platform, as well as the fact that we received our TNC accreditation just yesterday, we are using a phased approach for our partners' TNVS application submissions,” Arya said.
"Many of our partner-drivers depend on Uber for a living, and we are working with them to finalize their submissions as quickly as possible in close consultation and with the guidance of the LTFRB; to ensure all driver partners are fully accredited,” he added. – Rappler.com
$1 = P46.69