By Alexandria San Juan
Hatchback units and sub-compact vehicles will now be allowed to operate as ride-hailing cars following the amendment of a department order permitting them to transport passengers on the road.
Transportation Secretary Arthur Tugade signed, on Friday, an order amending provisions of Department Order No. 2015-011 and Department Order No. 2017-011 which previously excludes hatchbacks or smaller sedans as a transport network vehicle service (TNVS.)
“To further promote mobility and recognize new forms of transport services that can help address the large demand for transport services in expeditious and responsive ways, this Department shall include hatchbacks and subcompact cars to be classified under TNVS,” said the order, signed by Tugade at the Manila Bulletin reading room on Friday shortly after a roundtable interview.
During Manila Bulletin’s MB Hot Seat roundtable discussion, Tugade said that dialogues and meetings with TNVS stakeholders were ongoing to ensure that their demands, as well as the issues surrounding the industry are being discussed.
“Ang importante ay ‘yung tuluyang dayalogo, tuluyang usapan nung mga stakeholders nang sa ganun, yung comfort ng nakararami ay mabigyang katuparan (What’s important is the continuous dialogue with the stakeholders to provide comfort to the riding public),” Tugade said.
Under the new order, hatchback and sub-compact vehicles were added to the list of vehicles that can be utilized as TNVS which includes sedan, wagon, sports utility vehicle, van, multi-purpose van, and similar vehicles.
A hatchback can accommodate up to three passengers excluding the driver, while the fare shall be pre-arranged and authorized by the LTFRB.
Similar to the original department order, all TNVS shall be equipped with a GNSS receiver, free Wi-Fi, a closed-circuit television, and a dashboard camera.
“Yung hatchbacks, tanggap naman pati sa ibang bansa — sa bayan ng hapon, sa Great Britain. Yung issue na walang baggage compartment, ang magdedecide po kung gagamitin ‘yan or hindi ay ‘yung pasahero. Hindi mo icoconsider ‘yun sa specification (These hatchbacks are accepted in other countries like Japan and Great Britain. The issue on the baggage compartment, it is the passenger who will decide if they will use it or not. You will not consider that in the specification),” he explained.
The latest development on the issue came after deactivated hatchback drivers staged protest actions and filed complaints against the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) for banning their vehicles as TNVS and for failing to implement its Memorandum Circular 2018-005.
A memo issued in February last year said that all accredited hatchback units shall be allowed to operate as transport network vehicle service (TNVS) but at a lower rate and within Metro Manila only during a transition period of three years.
However, the board has refused to process new franchise applications or even those filing for renewal involving hatchbacks or those four-door compact or smaller sedans, due to the previous department order.
Following the new directive from the DOTr, LTFRB chairman Martin Delgra III has vowed to start working on accepting applications of hatchbacks.
“We appreciate the guidance of Secretary Tugade to accept hatchbacks. ‘Yun lang po nag hinihintay natin (That is what we are waiting for), a new department order. In the previous DO, hatchbacks were not included (as TNVS), so we will move forward in terms of accepting the hatchbacks,” Delgra, who was also present during the MB Hot Seat, said.
The new department order will take effect immediately following its publication in the UP Law Center.