Commuters protest Grab’s high fare; TNC firm denies surge pricing
While commuters complained of high fares on the first day of Grab being the dominant player in the country’s ride-hailing industry, the transport network company (TNC) denied on Monday that it is taking advantage of its position as it maintained that its rates are still within the bounds approved by its government regulator.
Grab’s surge pricing during the morning rush hour on Monday shocked a number of commuters, who were forced to look for other means of transportation just to get to work.
One of them was Joyce Yu who opted to take the bus from North Avenue to Ortigas since Grab was charging her P450 for the trip that usually costs her up to P250 only.
Several netizens also took to Twitter to express their disappointment over Grab’s high fares, which range from P300 to P600. A 6.5-kilometer trip from Makati to Manila at 8 a.m., for example, set back riders by almost P300, when hours earlier the same trip only cost around P150.
Last week, the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) ordered Grab to “immediately” bring down its surge pricing cap from twice the regular rate to just 1.5 times, while the government processes the accreditation of new TNCs that would take the place of Uber.
Grab government communications manager Fiona Nicolas said that while they have already implemented the new surge rate that the LTFRB imposed, fares may remain high in in the interim because of the limited number of drivers that are currently in their system.
“The onboarding of TNVS (transport network vehicle services) is not yet at 100 percent while most, if not all, Uber passengers have already downloaded the Grab app. The onboarding [of drivers] from Uber to Grab is still ongoing,” Nicolas said.
Grab Philippines country head Brian Cu earlier explained that while there has been an increase of up to 70 percent in passenger bookings, the number of drivers in their system only rose by around 30 percent.
On Monday, the Uber app went offline in the country following Grab’s acquisition of its former rival’s Southeast Asian operations.
This was also in compliance with the LTFRB’s directive to Uber to cease its operations as a TNC, despite an earlier order from the Philippine Competition Commission that it continue to serve the public for the duration of the motu propio review on the deal.
To protect the public from Grab’s exorbitant fares, the National Center for Commuters Safety and Protection called on the LTFRB to expedite its accreditation of new TNCs Lag Go, Hype and Owto to provide the riding public an alternative.
“It is incumbent on the LTFRB to approve these applications. We think that LTFRB should hurry up so that there will be competition,” the group’s head Maricor Akol said.
Meanwhile, the LTFRB called on the public to report to them picky Grab drivers as well as those who force them to cancel their bookings. The board said that show cause orders will be issued against these drivers, who would have to explain why their franchises to operate should not be revoked.
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