Lawmaker says Grab to continue monopoly if motorcycle taxis are not allowed to operate
Grab will continue to monopolize the ride-hailing market and its surge pricing may be more “unrestrained” if transport authorities deny the entry of Angkas and other motorcycle taxi operators at the end of the trial run, a Metro Manila lawmaker warned on Wednesday.
Marikina Rep. Stella Quimbo raised the question of market competition at the hearing of the House Metro Manila development panel regarding the pilot program of the Department of Transportation on motorcycles-for-hire.
“Do you consider the effect of your policies on Grab? Is that part of your determination?” she asked Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) board member Antonio Gardiola Jr., head of the technical working group on motorcycle taxis.
Gardiola replied in the negative, saying the LTFRB had no comparative analysis with transport network companies like Grab. Quimbo, an economics professor at the University of the Philippines, advised him to take competition into account.
“I was concerned because it would appear that Grab would continue to be a monopoly. I hope you will closely study its effect on Grab,” she said. “If you remove its competition, there will be no more competitive constraints.” This might mean Grab’s policies, including its surge pricing during rush hour, would be “more unrestrained,” Quimbo said. At present, Angkas, JoyRide and MoveIt are on a three-month trial period to determine their viability and safety to continue operating.
The three motorcycle taxi companies share a cap of 63,000 drivers who may ply the streets during the trial run, outside of which they are still considered illegal.
Several bills authorizing motorcycle taxis as a public utility vehicle are pending approval in the House.
Quimbo also quizzed Gardiola on why the LTFRB decided to divide the 63,000 cap equally among Angkas, JoyRide and MoveIt.
She said “dividing the market” was actually a violation of the Philippine Competition Act.
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