“Both sides came to the table to find concrete ways to make government regulations more in tune with today’s technologies. We all agreed on two things: first, Uber’s services are for the people’s benefit; and, second, regulation is a must for public safety and order,” said Transportation Secretary Joseph Emilio Abaya on Tuesday, November 11.
The Department of Transportation and Communications (DOTC), the LTFRB, and Uber agreed to sit down after a partner car of Uber fell in a sting operation on October 22.
The LTFRB fined the Toyota Fortuner P200,000 ($4,455.21)* and said the Uber partner could also be impounded for 3 months. Netizens were furious and lashed at LTFRB for picking on cars without franchise that serve commuters, instead of running after taxis that hold franchises but are abusive.
The LTFRB said the new rules will put Uber under the “vehicles-for-hire” category and would be subject to regulation.
LTFRB wants access to the identities of partner drivers of Uber for “security reasons.”
The agency should also be allowed to check the road-worthiness of Uber’s partner vehicles, Abaya said.
“Our taxi reform program, for instance, could adopt similar services such as centralized booking, passenger access to driver identities, and tracking systems for lost-and-found items,” the DOTC chief said.
DOTC spokesperson Michael Arthur Sagcal posted photos of the meeting between officials of the department, LTFRB, and Uber Philippines and Singapore:
DOTC, LTFRB brainstorm with Uber to modernize land transport systems. Safety, convenience, efficiency are priorities. pic.twitter.com/w9Pnrsqzw2— Migs Sagcal (@MigsSagcal) 11 November 2014
Uber is now being used in 128 cities in 37 different countries – but has also simultaneously attracted criticisms among taxi drivers in different parts of the world.
To address this, Abaya said Uber has been asked to recount its reforms in other countries to help LTFRB “modernize their own land transport regulations.”
LTFRB chairman Winston Ginez also asked officials of Uber Philippines and Singapore to thresh out the issues on modern technology solutions for land transportation.
“We will always push for anything that modernizes the country’s transport systems under my watch. Government welcomes tech solutions to transport problems, and fortunately, Uber also wants to work with us to make it happen,” Abaya said.
Uber was founded in California in 2009. This ride-sharing smartphone application allows commuters to send marker signal to car owners and taxi riders who are willing to pay for a ride to pre-specified pick-up points and destinations. – with a report from Mick Basa / Rappler.com
Woman using smartphone image from Shutterstock