Grab, Owto, Hype allowed to charge P2 per minute travel fee
The Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) has authorized transport network companies (TNCs) Grab, Owto and Hype to charge riders a P2-per-minute travel fee, citing the need to adjust fares to maintain the ride-hailing industry’s viability.
Signed on Tuesday, the board’s Memorandum Circular No. 2018-19 also ordered all TNCs to issue electronic receipts showing the fare breakdown.
The order would take effect 15 days after its publication in a national newspaper, according to LTFRB Chair Martin Delgra III.
The memorandum is applicable only to TNCs with transport network vehicle services (TNVS) or private vehicles that can be booked for solo or carpooled rides. Of the six ride-hailing apps accredited by the LTFRB, only Grab and local players Owto and Hype offer TNVS.
The others — GoLag, Micab and Hirna — are taxi-hailing TNCs which already have the P2-per-minute travel fee integrated into their fares following the recalibration of their meters, a process which started in July.
At present, all TNCs share the same fare components: a P40 base fare, a P10- to P14-per-kilometer rate, a price surge of up to two times the regular rate, and the now-authorized travel rate.
The LTFRB memorandum also meant that Grab, which was earlier ordered to pay a fine of P10 million for unilaterally imposing the P2-per-minute travel fee, could now reinstate it.
Grab drivers earlier complained that since the suspension of the travel charge in April, their income had dropped considerably due to rising fuel prices.
The memorandum was issued on the same day the board reversed a July 9 order directing Grab to reimburse passengers who were charged the travel fee through rebates for future rides.
However, the LTFRB stood firm on the P10-million fine it imposed on the company.
In reaction, Grab spokesperson Leo Gonzales said the TNC would file an appeal in connection with the stiff penalty, this time in the Department of Transportation.
The board’s decision authorizing the travel rate partly stemmed from calls made by House transportation committee chair and Catanduanes Rep. Cesar Sarmiento, Muntinlupa Rep. Ruffy Biazon and Quezon City Rep. Winston Castelo on behalf of the drivers.
For TNVS coalition head Winson Esteras, having the fee approved was just the first step in keeping drivers’ incomes sustainable amid fuel price increases and rising inflation.