Grab appeals LTFRB ruling, P10-M fine | Inquirer News

Grab appeals LTFRB ruling, P10-M fine

DOTr order allowing TNCs to set fares can be voided only by court, not transport board, says ride-hailing company
/ 05:05 AM July 25, 2018

Ride-hailing giant Grab has sought the reversal of a Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) ruling ordering it to pay a P10-million fine for unilaterally imposing its now-suspended P2-per-minute travel charge.

In a motion for reconsideration submitted to the LTFRB on July 18, Grab argued that its imposition of the travel fee was legal under then Department Order (DO) No. 2015-011 which allowed transport network companies (TNCs) to set their own fare matrix.

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The LTFRB ruled on July 9 that Grab violated its fare setting regulations and ordered it to reimburse its riders who were charged the fee between June 5, 2017, and April 19 this year through rebates for future rides.

Old DO rescinded

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The Department of Transportation (DOTr) rescinded the DO in June to clear up questions over the LTFRB’s fare regulation mandate under Executive Order No. 202 and Commonwealth Act No. 146.

Transport Secretary Arthur Tugade then issued Department Order No. 2018-13, which gave the LTFRB power to set and regulate TNC fares.

In its motion for reconsideration, Grab argued that the LTFRB by itself could not declare the old DO invalid, saying this must be determined by a court.

This was also the position taken by LTFRB Board Member Aileen Lizada, who was the sole dissenter in the en banc ruling signed by LTFRB Chair Martin Delgra and Board Member Ronaldo Corpus.

“As such, when (we) began imposing the P2-per-minute fare on June 5, 2017, to ensure that its drivers could make ends meet despite the worsening traffic conditions, (we) did so in good faith and pursuant to prevailing government issuances at the time,” Grab said.

Not yet final

“With all due respect, Grab asserts that the DO be deemed valid until it is set aside with finality in an appropriate case by a competent court,” it added.

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Given this, Grab said the LTFRB had no legal basis to slap it with a P10-million fine.

It also questioned why the board directed them to reimburse riders affected by the P2-per-minute charge when it had no power to order the refund or reimbursement of overcharged fares.

In an earlier interview, Grab country head Brian Cu said the company would exhaust all legal remedies—even go to court if necessary—before ordering a reimbursement.

But should the LTFRB again rule against Grab, the TNC can still appeal to the DOTr itself.

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TAGS: Grab, Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LFTRB), LTFRB
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