Abaya to Uber, LTFRB: Let’s work together

Mick Basa

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Abaya to Uber, LTFRB: Let’s work together
'Government must work together with innovators from the tech industry for the benefit of the people,' DOTC Secretary Joseph Emilio Abaya says after netizens were infuriated by LTFRB action against Uber units

MANILA, Philippines – Department of Transportation and Communications (DOTC) Secretary Joseph Emilio Abaya is set to meet with ride-sharing service Uber after it fell into legal trouble when one of its partner vehicles was slapped with a fine for not having a “franchise.”

“Government must work together with innovators from the tech industry for the benefit of the people. Hopefully, we can integrate these solutions into the DOTC’s taxi reform program,” Abaya said in a statement on Thursday, October 30.

On Wednesday, October 22, the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) fined a Fortuner P200,000 for partnering with Uber. The vehicle could also be impounded for up to 3 months.

This infuriated netizens who said LTFRB should not be picking on cars that serve commuters, and instead run after abusive, price-gouging drivers who drive either franchised or colorum, and worse, rickety taxis.

According to Uber, LTFRB’s October 22 operation was not fairly conducted, and asked government to look for ways to help companies like Uber in its aim to provide convenient transport to commuters.

In response, Abaya urged LTFRB to reach out “and seek ways to modernize our transportation rules.”

“While the LTFRB was only doing its job in implementing the law, we also have a duty to push for modern solutions to archaic problems,” Abaya said. 

Uber has attracted criticism among taxi drivers in different parts of the world.

In Europe, taxi drivers protested against the smartphone app which, they say, has shaken up the industry.

The online app service is now being used in 128 cities in 37 different countries. Through the service, customers can hire cars with geo-tagging technology connected.

A similar booking app, GrabTaxi, also launched GrabCar in Manila in May to compete with Uber, which has a dedicated fleet of limousine drivers. – Rappler.com

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