LTFRB urged to suspend Uber, GrabCar services
Paolo Romero (The Philippine Star) - October 11, 2015 - 10:00am

MANILA, Philippines - Leaders of the House of Representatives asked yesterday the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) to suspend the grant of franchises to transportation network companies (TNCs) such as Uber and GrabCar.

Quezon City Rep. Winston Castelo, chairman of the House committee on Metro Manila development, said there is a need to establish clear rules on the operations of TNCs to protect passengers from fare manipulation and harassment by drivers.

“It takes legislative approval to promulgate guidelines for the accreditation of TNCs, and the authority to provide the guidelines in the operation of TNCs is vested in Congress as provided in Department Order No. 2015-011 of the Department of Transportation and Communications,” Castelo said.

“There should be a standard fare matrix for Uber and GrabCar services,” he said.

To date, a total of 3,499 applications have been filed with the LTFRB for the use of 4,465 units of TNCs. 

The LTFRB has allocated a separate processing unit for such applications so as not to delay the filing and processing of other applications filed by stakeholders.

“The measure will regulate the number of TNCs to avoid congestion in Metro Manila streets. We will see to it that all TNC vehicles will have garages to avoid street congestion on account of parallel parking,” Castelo said. 

Valenzuela City Rep. Sherwin Gatchalian, vice chairman of the panel and the committee on urban development, cited a recent case wherein a female passenger of an Uber driver was nearly hit with a pipe during an argument.

He said in order to protect the riding public, he has filed a measure classifying TNCs as public utility vehicles that are liable for breach of contract.

House Bill 6160 declares TNCs as common carriers along with transportation network vehicle operators, even as they deny liability by saying a TNC is only a technological platform to connect passengers with drivers.

“TNCs cannot have their cake and eat it too. They must be responsible for the services they provide and held liable for any breach on the contract of carriage,” Gatchalian said.

The bill sets the contract of carriage from the time a passenger makes a pre-arranged ride with the TNC and ends when the vehicle carrying the passenger arrives at the designated location.

The measure requires TNCs to disclose their fare calculation method in their application service or website and to display a picture of the driver and the vehicle’s plate number.

Under the bill, TNCs are prohibited from accepting drivers who have been convicted of reckless driving, driving without license or under the influence of alcohol or illegal drugs, as well as evading arrest or detention.

Potential drivers should also not be convicted at any time of fraud, sexual offense or theft.

Taxicabs, limousines and similar for-hire vehicles using digital networks for pre-arranged rides are covered by the bill. 

ACIRC CASTELO DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION AND COMMUNICATIONS DEPARTMENT ORDER NO HOUSE BILL LAND TRANSPORTATION FRANCHISING AND REGULATORY BOARD LEADERS OF THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES METRO MANILA QUEZON CITY REP TNCS UBER
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