Avoid booking along EDSA, Grab riders told

MANILA, Philippines – Don't look now, but booking Grab rides just got even harder. 

In a statement on Thursday, August 16, ride-hailing giant Grab Philippines urged its riders to avoid bookings along EDSA during rush hour, with the driver-only car ban in place.

"We strongly urge our passengers to avoid setting pick-up and drop-off points along EDSA. If unavoidable to pass by EDSA without a passenger, we encourage our drivers to use the yellow lane and take the nearest exit away from EDSA," Leo Gonzales said, Grab's public affairs head.

On the first day of the dry run of the ban, many patrons of ride-hailing services were frustrated by the difficulty in booking rides. They also complained of heavier traffic in inner lanes as motorists avoided EDSA.

Gonzales said that they have sought dialogues with traffic officials on the new scheme.

"We agree that one way to solve congestion is to improve shared mobility. However, we hope that authorities will carefully put the interests of the ride-sharing industry as an important consideration in imposing new rules and regulations," Gonzales said.

Grab also urged its drivers and patrons to be more patient with the new scheme.

"We ask our drivers and passengers to be patient as we work with the regulators to set an acceptable scheme that carefully considers sentiment and suggestions of our TNVS (transport network vehicle services) market," Gonzales said.

The Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) eyes full implementation of the ban starting August 23.

MMDA said the new policy will reduce total vehicles in EDSA by 40% during rush hour.

But Senate leaders on Wednesday, August 15 called for the suspension of the policy– Rappler.com

Aika Rey

Aika Rey covers the Philippine Senate for Rappler. Before writing about politicians, she covered budget, labor, and transportation issues.