Latin America

Grab, Uber drivers ask LTFRB to lift ban on new driver applications

Rambo Talabong
Grab, Uber drivers ask LTFRB to lift ban on new driver applications
The drivers are petitioning a Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board order halting the processing of new drivers' applications issued in July 2016

MANILA, Philippines – Grab and Uber drivers have united to move forward. How? Through a petition.

TopSpeed and Busypaps, organizations consisting of at least 250 Uber and Grab drivers, urged on Friday, July 7, the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTRB) to lift their ban on new driver applications.

Kami po ay umaapela sa mabuting puso ng ating mga opisyal sa LTFRB, sana po ay pakinggan nyo ang aming hiling na bigyang amnestiya ang aming mga kasamahan na wala pa pong provisional authority,” TopSpeed Bobby Coronel said, reading their petition.

(We are appealing to the LTFRB, we hope you listen to our request to grant amnesty to our colleagues who still do not have provisional authority [permits].)

LEADER. Bobby Coronel heads TopSpeed, one of the first TNVS drivers' organizations in the Philippines. Photo by Rambo Talabong/Rappler

They are rallying against an LTFRB Memorandum Circular 2016-008 issued on July 21, 2016, which suspended the applications for the provisional authority (PA), or temporary permits to operate, for Transport Network Vehicle Service (TNVS) applicants. 

The order was released to limit operations of TNVS while LTFRB prepares a pitch on how to further regulate TNVS providers. The Philippines is the first country to regulate TNVS service providers.

TNVS simply pertains to any transport service where commuters and drivers get matched through an application. The 45-day PA permit is the precursor for the regular permit, which is renewed every 3 years.

Ever since the order was implemented, thousands who wanted to drive for transportation network companies (TNCs) or providers of TNVS, were barred from applying. 

This has forced the aspiring TNC drivers to go to other transport services like airport car services, or to become taxi drivers, Coronel said.

7,000 in limbo

WAITING. Busypaps president Jephthe Macad says they have been waiting for at least 6 months for the new temporary permits. Photo by Rambo Talabong/Rappler.com

While applicants have been rejected from applying as TNVS drivers, some 7,000 already-accredited drivers did not get their PAs renewed in 2016, with all of them having expired PA permits by December 2016, Busypaps president Jephthe Gamad said.

“We are not colorum by choice, our colleagues were left with no choice,” they said in the petition.”Many of us were unemployed, some are retirees. We were given the chance to be productive in becoming partners of TNVS companies.”

LTFRB chairman Martin Delgra clarified in an earlier press conference that the drivers can “renew or extend the PA”. Drivers applied for renewal and extension, but according to Gamad, LTFRB has not processed their applications.

Nakapagpa-renew naman kami. Ang problema lang kasi hindi kami nilalabasan ng papeles, (We renewed our PAs, but the problem is that they have not given us our documents),” Gamad told Rappler. He added that since December 2016 most drivers already had expired PAs.

Some continued to drive and said that they were not apprehended by the LTFRB, while some were forced to go off the road. As drivers who do not own the cars they drove, they were forced off the road by their operators – the car owners – who feared penalty from apprehension.

Medyo masakit on our part, we do our best to give riding experience to our commuters. Yun lang ang tanong eh, bakit tinatangkilik pa rin kami kung pangit ang serbisyo namin?” Coronel told Rappler. (It pains us that we are doing our best to provide [a good] riding experience to our commuters. The question is, why is still there a demand for us if we are not doing good enough?)

Their petition is set to be submitted on or before July 11, the day of the next public hearing of the LTFRB on new TNVS guidelines. – Rappler.com

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Rambo Talabong

Rambo Talabong covers the House of Representatives and local governments for Rappler. Prior to this, he covered security and crime. He was named Jaime V. Ongpin Fellow in 2019 for his reporting on President Rodrigo Duterte’s war on drugs. In 2021, he was selected as a journalism fellow by the Fellowships at Auschwitz for the Study of Professional Ethics.