By Alexandria Dennise San Juan
Dominant ride-sharing firm Grab Philippines welcomed the decision of transport regulators to partially grant their motion for reconsideration on the P2 per minute fare component implementation, and asked them to “immediately restore” the travel time rate to help address crisis on vehicle supplies.
Grab Philippines Country Head Brian Cu said they are grateful with the order recently released by the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board, which they said supports the fact that the company “acted in good faith and did not do anything illegal.”
“We respectfully ask the Board to immediately restore the P2 per minute time component, so that TNVS partners who went offline will be encouraged to go back and help address the TNVS supply crisis,” Grab Philippines Head Brian Cu said in a statement Wednesday.
According to Cu, the reimplementation of the travel time charge will also encourage active transport network vehicle service (TNVS) drivers to continue serving the growing passenger demand.
The LTFRB recently asked Grab to put off the P2 extra travel time rate they are charging to riders on top of the government approved fares following series of hearings that stemmed from a complaint filed by PBA Partylist Representative Jericho Nograles.
Nograles has accused Grab of amassing billions if pesos from its riders for “illegally” charging the per minute fare component.
Aside from the suspension of the travel time rate, the LTFRB also directed Grab to reimburse riders who were charged with the per minute fare component from June 5, 2017 to April 9, 2018, and slapped them with a P10-million fine for imposing the charge without “proper authority from the Board”.”
However, in a decision released by the LTFRB Tuesday, it stated that they are partially granting the motion for reconsideration filed by Grab and has “reverse and set aside” its previous order on reimbursement due to “lack of legal basis to support the reimbursement by way of rebate for future riders.”
But Grab still need to pay the P10-million fine, which LTFRB Member Atty. Aileen Lizada opposes to.
Lizada reiterated that penalties should only be imposed upon the effectivity of the amended policy, which gives full authority to the LTFRB to regulate and supervise TNCs.
According to Lizada, the P2 travel time charge has legal basis as it was still covered by a 2015 department order when it was implemented mid-2017 which allows TNCs to formulate their fare structure with oversight from the LTFRB at that time.
This was also what Grab is still pointing out as they maintain that they merely followed the Department of Transportation Order 2015-011.
Cu said that they will exhaust all administrative and legal measures until the decision is overturned or resolved with finality.
“Our partners have suffered through low earnings for the last four months following the suspension of the legal P2 per minute fare component. This has forced a number of them to stop driving which in turn gravely affected the supply situation,” Cu explained.
Cu also assured their riders that Grab will continue to implement fares that are legal and justified.
“For transparency, admin compliance to the LTFRB, we have also implemented the issuance of a new e-receipt which shows the breakdown of fares for each ride,” he concluded.