Hatchbacks can operate as TNVS units
MANILA, Philippines — The Department of Transportation (DOTr) has signed a department order permanently allowing hatchbacks to operate as transport network vehicle services (TNVS) units, ending a dispute between transport regulators and ride-hailing drivers’ groups.
Assistant Transport Secretary for Communications Goddes Libiran confirmed to reporters that the order would apply not just to hatchback drivers on the initial TNVS master list, but also to all who applied for accreditation with the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB).
Libiran added that the memorandum circular would take effect as soon as it was published.
The announcement was made on Friday, a day after Transport Secretary Arthur Tugade ordered the LTFRB to implement Memorandum Circular No. 2018-005, which allowed hatchbacks to operate as TNVS units until 2021 provided they operate only within Metro Manila and charge cheaper fares.
The department order, however, is different from the memorandum circular as it allows all hatchbacks, even those not on the TNVS master list, to operate permanently, not just until 2021.
The LTFRB initially stood by its memorandum circular, arguing that it was merely abiding by Department Order 2015-11, which stated that only vehicles with an engine power above 2,000 cc could be used as public transport.
While hatchback drivers welcomed the DOTr order, they expressed hope that authorities would also relax the supposedly rigid requirements in applying for a transport franchise.
These included, among others, securing a bank conformity form to apply for a certificate of public convenience.
They argued that the high standards set by banks had made it difficult for them to secure a loan to operate TNVS cars.
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