Grab, taxi operator in trouble over ‘extortionist’ driver
MANILA — The app-based ride-hailing service Grab and a partner operator are in hot water after a unit was found to be operating illegally following an extortion complaint filed by a passenger against the driver.
During a hearing on Wednesday, Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) board member Ariel Inton said Grab could lose its accreditation as a transport network company (TNC) while the operator’s application for a franchise as a transport network vehicle service (TNVS) could be rejected.
Under the terms and conditions of accreditation of a TNC, it should allow only “duly franchised TNVS vehicles to provide a pre-arranged ride.” Violation of the terms can be used as a basis for the cancellation of its accreditation.
The LTFRB has yet to issue a TNVS franchise and instead gave provisional authorities (PA) to applicants.
Operator Paulita Santos and her operations manager Ana Liza Inez admitted that the Mitsubishi Mirage (conduction NJ-0361) driven by Edwin Allan Rivera did not have a PA.
The vehicle may be impounded while the operator could be fined P120,000.
The operator apologized to Joy (not her real name), a tourism college student who filed an extortion complaint against the driver. The complainant asked the LTFRB to withhold her name for her safety.
Joy said she and her friend booked a ride going to the City of Dreams for an event past midnight on May 21.
When the driver stopped for gasoline, he made a scene and accused the passengers of “planting” illegal drugs under the car seat. He then asked the passengers for P5,000 to settle the matter.
While the gas station attendants talked to the driver, another advised the passengers to get their things and leave because the driver seemed high on drugs (“bangag”), Joy said.
Inez, operations manager of the TNVS unit, said Rivera quit that same day and could no longer be contacted. She said she trusted Rivera when he applied because he had previous experience as a Grab driver and presented a clearance.
Rivera’s case for overcharging and being an arrogant driver has been submitted for resolution. Inton said the LTFRB would ask the Land Transportation Office to cancel Rivera’s driver’s license. SFM
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