Grab, Uber partners can now drive ‘worry-free’
MANILA, Philippines – Grab and Uber partners can now drive worry-free, as the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) opened franchise applications on Monday, March 5.
The application started at 8 am, with the first applicant completing the entire process within 10 minutes.
Juliet Bulaon, a Grab partner, lined up as early as 6:30 am to make sure she would finish first. "It's a relief. Now that [we have the papers needed], I won't be worrying about our [car getting apprehended] all the time," she said in Filipino on Monday.
Bulaon is among the 66,750 operators who are expected to apply for their Provisional Authority (PA) as a step to eventually getting their Transport Network Vehicle Services (TNVS) franchise.
After 10 working days, Bulaon will return to the LTFRB for a hearing that will determine whether she will be granted a Certificate of Public Convenience (CPC). If that is granted, she will get a franchise that will last for two years.
Grab Philippines head Brian Cu echoed Bulaon's sentiments, saying many TNVS drivers worry about getting apprehended by traffic enforcers for being "colorum."
"They can now drive without worrying that they will be apprehended for the reasons that they are colorum vehicles – they are not," Cu said.
LTFRB Board Member Aileen Lizada described the process on Monday as "very smooth." They were able to process about 50 applications within the first hour.
"The applicants have complete documents with them that's why the flow is smooth. There are some minor setbacks (with incomplete documents), but it's manageable," Lizada told reporters on Monday.
Based on initial talks, LTFRB is set to process 300 applications per day – with Grab and Uber alloted 150 slots each. (READ: LTFRB to accept franchise applications for lease-to-own cars but...)
But Lizada said they were able to finish all 300 applications before 2 pm, so the regulatory board will increase the number of applications they can accommodate in succeeding days.
Transport Network Companies (TNC) Grab and Uber have set up assistance centers near LTFRB to ensure that applicants have all the requirements needed.
As the LTFRB opened up franchise applications, the TNCs think that booking for services will now be easier.
Yves Gonzalez, Uber Philippines' public policy head, said more drivers would be encouraged to get on the road now that are holding the proper documents.
Grab's Cu also said that that booking will be smoother, as issuing franchises is one way to determine whether the supply of TNVS vehicles will meet the demand on the road.
"This is the step to get the right number of vehicles. We will see whether the supply will meet the demand. LTFRB will assess in the next months whether there's a need to increase the numbers," Cu said.
In 2016, LTFRB suspended accepting new applications for TNVS permits for ride-hailing apps due to the rising volume of applications and concern of oversupply of units.
Earlier in February, the regulatory board set the cap at 66,750 units, but said it would review the figure if the demand for TNVS is not met. (READ: Poe to LTFRB: 'Explain the math' behind cap on ride-hailing vehicles)– Rappler.com