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LTFRB wants assurance Uber won’t make public pay for losses

By: - Reporter / @jovicyeeINQ
/ 05:07 AM August 30, 2017

Uber issues a check for the “biggest ever” fine in the LTFRB’s history. —Jovic Yee

After lifting Uber’s suspension on Tuesday, the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) wants to get an assurance from the transport network company (TNC) that it will not pass on to the riding public the close to half-a-billion pesos it lost in the past 15 days.

Based on talks with their information technology consultants, LTFRB board member Aileen Lizada said “it [was] possible” for Uber “to manipulate the algorithm [of the app] in the same way they put a cap on [price] surges.”

“That is why we want to take it up with Uber in today’s technical working group meeting. We want to get their assurance. We don’t want them to pass on the fine to the consumers, to the riding public. We hope Uber will, in good will and good faith, treat Filipinos accordingly, properly and fairly,” Lizada told reporters.

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Uber claim verified first

At 4:48 p.m. Tuesday, the LTFRB lifted the month-long suspension it imposed on Uber after the TNC paid its P190-million fine shortly after noon. But before it did, the agency first verified whether or not Uber had provided the financial assistance it promised to its over 36,000 drivers.

The verification was done by Lizada who asked four Uber drivers in Manila and Cebu province if they had indeed received the amount Uber said it had credited to their account.

All in all, the TNC’s violation of the LTFRB’s July 26 order cost it close to half-a-billion pesos. Apart from its P190 million fine, it also had to shell out P299.24 million in assistance to its drivers during the 15 days it was suspended.

Uber was supposed to serve a month-long suspension, starting on Aug. 15, for defying the LTFRB order not to accept and accredit new drivers into its platform.

It offered to pay a P10-million fine in exchange for the lifting of its suspension but the LTFRB said the amount should be “commensurate [with] the penalty of suspension.”

The P190-million fine, the biggest in the LTFRB’s history, was arrived at based on the number of days that Uber should be suspended “in relation to its daily average income” which was between P7 million and P10 million.

Following the lifting of the suspension order, Cat Avelino, Uber Philippines’ communications head, said that they were “grateful for the opportunity to serve the [country] again.” According to her, they resumed operations starting at 5 p.m. yesterday.

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TAGS: LTFRB, public transportation, TNCs, Transportation Network Companies, Uber
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