ride-hailing industry

New ride-hailing app inDrive anticipates Metro Manila launch in May

Lance Spencer Yu

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New ride-hailing app inDrive anticipates Metro Manila launch in May

NEW APP. File photo of a vehicle affiliated with ride-hailing provider inDrive.


To comply with regulatory requirements, inDrive has removed its 'fare-haggling' price system

MANILA, Philippines – International ride-hailing company inDrive is expecting to begin operations within May as it awaits regulatory approval.

inDrive could receive approval from the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) as early as this week, according to Afanasii Petrov, inDrive’s business development manager for Southeast Asia.

“We’re already compliant. We’re very complaint,” Petrov said on Thursday, May 9, estimating that the ride-hailing service could be activated within a few weeks after “some preparation for it from our side.”

inDrive plans to roll out booking for four-seater, six-seater, and hatchback vehicles in the app within May, starting in Metro Manila. Other priority areas – Pampanga, Bacolod, Cagayan de Oro, and Iloilo – may go live “in a few months,” according to Petrov. Later on, inDrive also wants to expand into other key major cities, like Cebu and Davao.

Set on being the latest challenger to Grab’s ride-hailing dominance, inDrive earlier received its accreditation from the LTFRB in December 2023. A month later in January 2024, the company said it would “activate its services in Metro Manila this first quarter of 2024.”

But that was quickly put to a halt when the LTFRB slapped inDrive with a suspension just hours later for violating the agency’s established fare matrix by allowing passengers to negotiate rates. Under inDrive’s pricing model, which it uses in its other countries, passengers can offer their own fare for a ride, and drivers can accept it, turn it down, or negotiate a new fare.

“We decided to be compliant with all the regulatory requirements. That’s why we needed to stop our operations and start working with LTFRB,” Petrov said.

The inDrive official said that under the newly tweaked pricing model, the fare will be fixed in accordance with LTFRB’s matrix, which now includes surge fees. In other words, inDrive will now follow the same model used by other ride-hailing companies in the Philippines.

Currently, inDrive has around 4,000 drivers onboarded for Metro Manila, with a target of reaching 10,000 to 20,000 drivers by the end of 2024. The commission that inDrive charges to drivers will also be “the lowest in the market” at 10%. (READ: Limit ride-hailing giants’ share of drivers’ earnings – transport groups)

Petrov also said that they may offer the option to book taxis through the app in the future. Initially, inDrive’s fleet for four-seater vehicles also included taxis, but they were eventually removed after a customer complained about receiving a taxi after booking a four-seater vehicle.

“Now, we fully assure that there will not be any confusion between passengers and drivers. If they will order a four-seater, only a four-seater will arrive,” he said.

Once it establishes itself as a ride-hailing provider in the Philippines, inDrive is also looking to expand into other services that it can offer through its app, such as city-to-city transport, courier and cargo delivery, and even handyman services, like cleaning, repairs, and construction.

inDrive, which was founded in Russia but is now headquartered in the United States, operates in more than 700 cities across 46 countries. In Southeast Asia, the ride-hailing app offers its services in Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand, Vietnam, and Laos. – Rappler.com

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Lance Spencer Yu

Lance Spencer Yu is a multimedia reporter who covers the transportation, tourism, infrastructure, finance, agriculture, and corporate sectors, as well as macroeconomic issues.