LTFRB: Uber still suspended
The Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) reiterated on Tuesday that the month-long suspension it imposed on Uber remains in effect as it warned that violators would be fined P120,000 and their vehicles impounded for three months.
It made the clarification after Uber unilaterally reactivated its app on Tuesday morning in defiance of the suspension order issued the night before.
The LTFRB meted out the penalty after it discovered that the transport network company (TNC) had continued to accept and activate new drivers on its platform in violation of its July 26 order.
Shortly after filing a motion for reconsideration Tuesday morning, Uber resumed its operations in Metro Manila and Cebu after going offline for roughly five hours.
It claimed that because of the LTFRB’s suspension order, “tens of thousands of riders were left stranded, causing needless inconvenience while drivers were unable to access the earning opportunities they rely on.”
On Tuesday night, Uber’s motion for reconsideration was denied by LTFRB. In a statement, Uber said it was disappointed although it would comply with the order.
LTFRB chair Martin Delgra III earlier said that while Uber filed a motion for reconsideration, the suspension order still stands, adding that Uber’s continued defiance of its directives was “akin to contempt.”
The LTFRB had put off the implementation of its July 11 order to apprehend transport network vehicle service (TNVS) providers without the necessary franchise to operate. This was after TNCs Grab and Uber filed a motion for reconsideration before the crackdown was to be enforced starting on July 26.
“When an order is executory, it will remain executory until the reason for the order becomes moot and academic or it has been reconsidered,” Delgra stressed.
According to LTFRB board member Aileen Lizada, Uber’s unilateral reactivation of its app puts into question the TNC’s business etiquette.
“You are now putting all of your TNVS at risk. What kind of partner-operator are you? What are you trying to prove? We are suspending your operations and now you are going to tell them to go out. Why are you doing this to your TNVS?” Lizada said.
Recognizing that Uber’s position has put them in a “very unique situation,” Grab Philippines country head Brian Cu assured commuters on Tuesday that it would not implement any predatory pricing scheme during this period. In fact, Grab has set its surge pricing ceiling at 1.4 times the normal rate, lower than the times two rate set by the LTFRB in December.
This meant that patrons of the ride-sharing app would see their fares increase by just P20 to P50.
Asked if the order against Uber had a chilling effect on TNCs, Leo Gonzales, Grab’s public affairs manager, said the LTFRB’s action should not come as a surprise.
“It has the right to do that. Taken fairly, they are just doing their jobs. That’s something we have to respect,” he said, noting that for them, the bottom line is to “follow the laws of the land.”
As Sen. Grace Poe assailed the LTFRB for its order against Uber, Delgra said that while they respect her opinion, they stand by their decision. “If Uber did not accept additional applications, we would not have come out with the order,” he added.
Malacañang, meanwhile, said it was hoping for a quick resolution although it stressed that the LTRFB has its support.
The sooner Uber complies with regulations, the sooner the issue will be resolved, it added.
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