By Alexandria Dennise San Juan
The Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) is temporarily allowing the use of “hatchbacks” as transport network vehicle services but only on trips within Metro Manila and at lower fares.
LTFRB member Aileen Lizada said that the board decided to allow hatchbacks during the transition period but at lower rates and within Metro Manila only.
“There are faces, there are families behind the numbers, that’s why the board has considered the hatchbacks to be allowed during transition but at lower rates, and will not be allowed to travel on far areas such as Bulacan, Rizal, Laguna, Cavite… only within Metro Manila,” Lizada said.
Earlier this year, the LTFRB planned to exclude hatchbacks or those compact and small cars as TNVS, citing safety regulations for passengers.
In the LTFRB Memorandum Circular 2017-032 issued in November last year, “hatchbacks and other four-door compact or smaller sedans with Piston Displacement not less than 1200cc may be allowed as proposed units or as substitute units provided that the units are compliant with the minimum dimension, safety and comfort features prescribed under MC 2015-004.”
Under the MC 2015-004, the board prescribed that only vehicles with a piston displacement of not less than 1200 cc and which fit the new size requirement of LTFRB with overall length of 3990 mm, overall width of 1625 mm, overall height of 1455 mm, and wheelbase of 2405 mm will be allowed.
However, Grab Philippines head Brian Cu said that hatchbacks have nothing to do with the safety of passengers, but with their comfort, especially if the riders are tall.
“I mean if there was a safety concern they should not be on the road in the first place whether they are used for public or private,” Cu said in an interview during a press conference of a TNVS community.
According to the LTFRB member, hatchbacks will be fit for those riders who are on a budget and will be travelling only short distances.
“We are receiving a lot of requests sa hatchbacks. Hatchbacks have a lower emission and lower cost of fuel. If you will book a hatch, ito yung gusto mag-TNVS pero may budget lang,” Lizada said.
Ride-sharing company Grab said that they are also proposing the possibility of lower fare among their 6,000 to 8,000 estimated TNVS hatchbacks, instead of removing them from the platform.
“If you just want to get from point A to point B at wala ka namang dalang maleta okay lang sa iyo (ang)hatchback. I’ve ridden them before and the service has been the same, so ang tinitingnan namin is a lower price for that.”
“What we will do sa Grab is we will adjust the commission structure for the hatchbacks para yung income nila ay hindi naman tatamaan imbes na matanggal sila,” Cu added.