By Vanne Elaine Terrazola
Senator Grace Poe said it is still up to the public to decide whether or not to continue patronizing Grab despite the supposed decline of its quality of service and the increase of its fares.
Poe, chair of the Senate committee on public service, today said after the Philippine Competition Commission (PCC) noted in its statement of concerns the transport network company’s (TNC) upward trend of fares and frequent surge pricing after its merger with Uber last month.
The PCC also noted complaints about frequent cancellation of rides and longer waiting time of passengers. In its finding, the anti-trust body said these were caused by the loss of competition between Grab and Uber.
“First of all, Grab has to answer as to the quality of their service. They really have to — I mean, the consumer themselves would decide if they want to take Grab any further if their quality of service is declining,” Poe said in a chance interview at the Senate today.
“But the Philippine Competition Commission should be really focused on whether or not there is fair competition…I don’t think it is within their purview or jurisdiction to comment on, or if they have any jurisdiction to the quality of service,” Poe said.
Poe noted the approval of the new TNCs to compete with Grab.
She, on the other hand, expressed support for the PCC’s move to ensure that Grab does not monopolize the ride-sharing industry.
“We should have more competitors when it comes to TNVS providers. Meron naman na, but syempre not within the scale and size of Grab. Yun yung nagiging problema (While there are new TNCs, they do not match the scale and size of Grab. That’s where the problem is),” she said.
“I’m not in favor of that merger. Of course, not that I have control over it, but the more players there are in the market, the better it is. Grab has the virtual control of the biggest chunk of the riding public,” she added.
The PCC said, however, that the entry of competitors would not be “timely, likely, and sufficient,” noting that it would take a significant amount of time and cost to build a driver and rider base sufficient to contest Grab.