LTFRB: Hatchbacks also allowed in Metro Cebu, Pampanga
MANILA, Philippines – The Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) clarified on Thursday, February 15, that hatchback and compact vehicles are allowed in Metro Cebu and Pampanga.
LTFRB Chairman Martin Delgra III made the clarification during the Senate committee on public services.
"The issue on the hatchback is that it is allegedly considered in Metro Manila only, but we are allowing it to those areas we allowed the application of TNVS (Transport Network Vehicle Service). That is in Metro Manila, Metro Cebu, and Pampanga," said Delgra.
He pointed out, however, that hatchback units under TNVS cannot bring passengers outside Metro Manila and in areas that will have to ply expressways.
Delgra said that the LTFRB puts a premium on public's safety and convenience, hence the regulation of hatchback vehicles providing ride-hailing services.
"We have consistently set a higher standard for public utility vehicles for safety and convenience of passengers such as enough legroom or a baggage compartment," he said in a mix of English and Filipino.
Under LTFRB's latest memorandum circular, hatchback units will also have to charge lower rates compared to sedans.
In January, LTFRB planned to ban hatchback and compact vehicles from being accredited for ride-hailing services.
Drivers and operators from the TNVS hatchback community appealed to the regulatory board, saying some operators are still paying for the vehicle's loan amortization.
In February, LTFRB allowed the hatchback units to continue operating but only within a 3-year period to give way to car loan payments.
Senator Grace Poe, chairperson of Senate committee on public services, asked the LTFRB to reconsider the allowed period for hatchbacks to operate.
"I hope there will be an extension, especially if the LTFRB finds that hatchback units do not bring inconvenience to its riders and other road mishaps. Maybe TNVS groups can discuss that again. Hopefully, the allowed hatchback units will be given the opportunity to expand their service," Poe said in Filipino.
The applications for franchise will open on March 5, with around 59,000 units from ride-hailing apps Grab and Uber eligible for the application. The remaining slots will be opened to new operators.– Rappler.com