MANILA, Philippines – The Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) imposed a P10-million fine on ride-hailing company Grab Philippines for charging its passengers additional P2 per minute on top of its approved fees.
In a message to reporters, the Department of Transportation (DOTr) confirmed on Tuesday, July 10, that LTFRB ordered Grab to pay a fine, and to reimburse its patrons through rebates. (READ: Did Grab ‘illegally’ charge its riders higher fare?)
“Yes, we confirm that during the hearing earlier, the LTFRB ordered Grab to pay P10 million in penalties for overcharging and to reimburse its passengers by way of rebate, for charging P2 per minute waiting time,” DOTr director for communications Goddes Libiran said.
According to the July 9 order, the reimbursement would be through “rebates for future rides” and will be availed of for only 20 days.
“The amount of the rebate shall be limited to the portion of the income of the respondent only, directly related to or arising from P2 per minute, during the period of its unauthorized imposition,” the order said.
Libiran said Grab can still appeal the order. If the LTFRB denies the motion, Grab may raise it to the DOTr.
Under the government-approved fare scheme issued in December 2016, Grab Philippines can only charge a flagdown rate of P40 and an additional P10 to P14 per kilometer.
PBA party list Representative Jericho Nograles accused the company of charging an additional P2-per-minute travel charge on top of its government-approved rate. Nograles demanded that Grab refund its customers a total of P1.8 billion in supposed overcharged fares in 5 months alone.
The lawmaker’s allegation prompted an LTFRB hearing and the suspension of the charge.
Grab said that the additional charge was “legal” and that LTFRB knew about it. (READ: LTFRB to Grab: Why change fares on your own?)
But Grab also admitted that riders were not informed of the travel charges when first added to their fares in mid-2017.
Sought for reaction to the LTFRB fine, Grab Philippines said they will “reserve comment until they have studied the order.”
“Grab will reserve comment for now until we have fully studied and analyzed the matter with our legal team. We will reach out in due time,” Grab Philippines Public Affair Head Leo Gonzales said.
In a bid to regulate fares, the DOTr issued an order on June 11 giving LTFRB the full authority over fare regulation of ride-hailing companies. – Rappler.com