LTFRB raises ride-hailing vehicle cap to 66,750

MANILA, Philippines (UPDATED) – The Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) on Monday, February 12, raised the allowed number of ride-hailing vehicle units to 66,750, from 45,700 units, nationwide

Under Memorandum Circular 2018-005, the LTFRB raised the “common supply base,” or the number of allowed franchises under Transport Network Vehicle Services (TNVS), to 65,000 units in Metro Manila, 1,500 in Metro Cebu, and 250 in Pampanga.

LTFRB Board Member Aileen Lizada said that the Certificates of Public Convenience for some 59,000 Grab and Uber vehicles were not process after the LTFRB imposed a moratorium on franchise applications last July 2017.

Lizada said that the excess number in the supply base is open for other Transport Network Companies such as U-Hop. She pointed out, however, that the LTFRB does not want interested TNVS operators to buy new cars again.

“What we dont want to happen is for them to buy cars again. We will process those who are active units but were not able to register during the cut-off,” she said.

Application for franchises will open on March 5.

In determining the common supply base, the LTFRB took into account the unserved demand, vehicle coding schemes in place, and churning rate of drivers, or those who become inactive after a few months.

The circular also orders hatchback units to operate within Metro Manila only and should charge lower rates compared to sedans.

Lizada also said that the regulatory board will issue different plates and stickers for TNVS units for enforcement purposes. The stickers will be released as soon as the Provisional Authority has been issued but the plates will be provided later.

“There is no classification in the LTO (Land Transportation Office) for TNVS. They can’t give them yellow or rainbow plates,” she said.

The LTFRB earlier set a cap on TNVS permits at 45,700 units nationwide. This sparked a debate among TNCs on whether it is the right number of units based on the demand. (READ: Poe to LTFRB: 'Explain the math' behind cap on ride-hailing vehicles)

The Department of Transportation then ordered the LTFRB to review the cap imposed by the regulatory board.

Ease traffic?

During a House hearing on Metro Manila Development on Monday, Marikina 1st District Representative Bayani Fernando questioned the cap set by the LTFRB, saying it will only add up to the volume of cars on Metro Manila roads.

“I am not impressed by the number because of its very little effect [in curbing] traffic. It’s practically the same number, especially during rush hours. It only adds to traffic congestion,” Fernando said in a mix of English and Filipino.

Ako Bicol Representative Rodel Batocabe said traffic congestion was light when Uber was suspended for a month in August 2017. (READ: TIMELINE: Why only Uber is suspended)

"Ergo, we should limit the number of TNVS," he said.

The cap was LTFRB’s latest attempt to regulate the TNCs and avoid adding more cars on the capital region’s roads. Lizada said the cap would be re-evaluated every 3 months to see whether it should be increased or decreased based on data.

Meanwhile, Fernando, a former chairman of the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority, also said the LTFRB should look into requiring TNVS drivers to be parked in a terminal when they are not online for work or while waiting to receive a booking.

“The problem is, during traffic hours – where are they supposed to wait? I would take my car and I go to the parking lot so I’m off the road. We have to look at it somehow at that angle,” Fernando said.

In response, lawyer Irish Alemeida, Uber’s public policy representative, said LTFRB already requires garages for drivers to avoid illegal parking on the streets. (EXPLAINER: LTFRB requirements for Grab, Uber permits)

The earlier cap set by LTFRB had sparked a debate among TNCs on whether it is the right number of units based on the demand. (READ: Poe to LTFRB: 'Explain the math' behind cap on ride-hailing vehicles)

The Department of Transportation then ordered the LTFRB to review the cap imposed by the regulatory board. – Rappler.com

Aika Rey

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

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