LTFRB issues show cause order to Grab on deactivation of 8,000 colorum units

By Alexandria San Juan

The Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) has formally issued a show cause order against ride-hailing giant Grab Philippines on its move to deactivate 8,000 “colorum” units which the agency said should have been done months ago.

Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) (MANILA BULLETIN)
Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) (MANILA BULLETIN)

The transport regulatory body is set to hear the issue of MyTaxi.PH, the local unit of Grab next week to explain its plan to deactivate almost 20 percent of the 45,000 transport network vehicle services (TNVS) providers on its platform.

The show cause order was issued by the LTFRB on Thursday, June 6, coincidentally in time with Grab’s 7th anniversary.

Grab earlier announced that it was ready to remove by June 10 at least 8,000 TNVS partners who failed to submit a proof of provisional authority from the Board, considering them as “colorum” or operating without franchise.

However, LTFRB chairman Atty. Martin Delgra III said that TNVS drivers who do not apply at all for a Certificate of Public Convenience (CPC) should have already been deactivated by Grab as per the order issued by the agency months ago.

“Based on our dialogue with Grab, in the presence of other TNCs (transport network companies) last May, they say they are trying to deactivate and they continue to deactivate as of this time,” Delgra told reporters on Friday.

Delgra bared that the board is providing the list of drivers who are applying for accreditation not only with Grab but with all other TNCs on a weekly basis to help them in tracing those units which still do not have provisional authorities or CPCs.

“That is precisely why we are hoping… supposed to be by this time tapos na dapat ang deactivation nila. But nagsasabi sila na magdeactivate pa, they would have to explain that to the Board next week,” the LTFRB chief added.

In a data provided by the LTFRB Board, there are more than 5,000 provisional authorities by the LTFRB that are still unclaimed as of June 6.

According to Delgra, there are a total of 40,522 TNVS units that already have a provisional authority (35,229 units) or CPC (5,293 units) as of May 29.

In December last year, the LTFRB opened 20,000 slots for TNVS to increase the common supply base capped at 65,000.

The agency recently gave a June 7 deadline to those who applied last December to complete their application requirements before opening up again 10,000 new slots for TNVS application on June 10.

Apart from the TNVS units’ deactivation, Grab was also summoned by the LTFRB to address growing complaints over its failure to implement the 20 percent discount for persons with disabilities (PWDs), senior citizens, and students based on the SCO.

In a recent Congressional hearing, lawmakers pressed LTFRB to investigate the TNC’s alleged offenses, including its non-compliance with laws mandating them to grant the 20 percent fare discount.

Grab Philippines has yet to issue a statement regarding the matter as it still has yet to receive the copy of the show cause order as of this writing.

“We need to hold off on making a statement until we see the SCO. We need to discuss it with our legal team also once we have it,” Grab government communications manager Fiona Nicolas said.

Grab Philippines President Brian Cu earlier admitted that the removal of the 8,000 active TNVS partners, which equates to at least 100,000 rides a day, would cause inconvenience among passengers with the expected longer booking time and frequent surcharges.

“This will reduce the number of vehicles servicing our commuting public, thus, inconveniencing many Filipinos. This is very painful for us, our drivers, and passengers, but it is Grab’s duty to help the LTFRB enforce our regulations,” he explained.