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Transport leaders sue Uber for ‘colorum’ vehicles

/ 07:50 AM August 17, 2017

Leaders of several transport groups filed on Wednesday a criminal complaint against ride-sharing company Uber for allowing “colorum” vehicles under its system and for violating orders of the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB).

Led by lawyer Vigor Mendoza II of the Kilusan sa Pagbabago ng Industriya ng Transportasyon (Kapit), the complainants accused Uber officials in the Quezon City Prosecutor’s Office of violating the Public Service Law, or Commonwealth Act No. 146.

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The officers included Uber board members Karen Sammis Walker, Rob Van Der Woude, Charlotte Aguba-Goco, Jacqueline Laurel, Maria Elena Fernandez-Cueva and Manuel Cosico.

No valid franchises

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Other respondents were two Uber drivers — Joseph Ravile and Jenell Flores — who allegedly picked up fares without franchises or provisional authority to operate.

The complaint said Uber violated several sections of the Public Service Law, particularly the need to get a certificate of public convenience before operating.

Mendoza said of the more than 74,000 vehicles accredited by Uber, at least 53,000 units were running illegally.

These vehicles continue to operate as “colorum,” despite the fine slapped by the LTFRB on the transport network company, he added.

“Respondents … knowingly and willfully violated the orders of the LTFRB, and consented and approved their company’s illegal activity of operating vehicles as public utilities without the proper and valid authority coming from the LTFRB,” the complaint said.

Mendoza said the transport leaders were not against Uber, but its violations of the law.

‘Dangerous precedent’

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“We want to bring back the goodness of Uber: its cleanliness, safety,” he told the Inquirer in a phone interview. “These actions are against the Uber officials who continue to [violate the law] … . We have to put our foot down.”

Mendoza said the thousands of colorum vehicles under Uber could “set a dangerous precedent,” where other modes of transport service might just choose to forgo franchise application.

If charged, the Uber board members would be slapped with a fine or might face jail time under the law, which was passed in 1936.

Other complainants were Roberto Martin of Pasang Masda, Melencio Vargas of the Alliance of Transport Operators Driver’s Associations of the Philippines, Zenaida Maranan of the Federation of Jeepney Operators Drivers Association of the Philippines, Efren de Luna of Alliance of Concerned Transport Organizations, Orlando Marquez of the Liga ng Transportation at Opereytor sa Pilipinas and Fermin Octubre of the Drivers Unite for Mass Progress Equality and Reality.

Uber head of communications Cat Avelino told the Inquirer on Wednesday that it couldn’t give a comment on the complaint filed against its officials as Uber had yet to receive a copy of the complaint.

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TAGS: Kapit, LTFRB, TNCs, Transport groups, Transportation Network Companies, Uber, Vigor Mendoza II
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