GrabCar, the private hire vehicle booking service available through the GrabTaxi app, is the first and only service of its kind in the Philippines to be fully accredited as a Transportation Network Company (TNC) by the Land Transportation Franchising & Regulatory Board (LTFRB) .
Natasha Bautista, Head of GrabCar Philippines, said this GrabCar accreditation validates the company’s efforts in providing the safest and most convenient rides for passengers in the Philippines.
“With full accreditation, more Filipino commuters will be able to use GrabCar and be confident that we offer a legitimate and safe private hire service. We will now focus on rapidly expanding our GrabCar service to serve more passengers across the Philippines,” said Bautista.
“Our GrabCar accreditation by LTFRB is a historical occasion. We commend the Philippine government for collaborating with our team to revolutionize transport in the Philippines through the development of game-changing regulations that champion innovation and public safety for society,” she added.
When GrabCar first entered the market, the service operated on par with the current industry standards. In May 2015, the Department of Transportation and Communications (DOTC) announced that it would create a new classification to accommodate mobile app-based booking services. On July 3rd, GrabCar became the first company to complete all the requirements and receive full accreditation as a TNC.
The requirements for TNC accreditation include: business permit, certificate of registration duly issued by the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR), business model proposal with proposed fare rates and service charges, and complaint mechanism against vehicle owners and drivers.
In May this year, the Philippine government introduced new transport categories aimed at easing traffic congestion. One of these is Transportation Network Vehicle Service (TNVS), which are vehicles of application-based, ride-sharing service providers, like Uber, GrabTaxi, Tripda, and EasyTaxi.
But after 3 months since its implementation, there are still TNVS operators who have not applied for TNVS accreditation, Uber being one of them.
Individual GrabCar operators will have until August 20 to apply for TNVS franchises and continue their operations. Starting August 21, the LTFRB said it will start apprehending unregistered TNCs and TNVS operators.
Uber, according to LTFRB, has not applied for TNC accreditation yet.
Under Joint Administrative Order (JAO) 2014-01, owners of private vehicles that operate as PUVs will be fined P200,000 ($4,346.90) each, and be impounded for 3 months.
Sought for comment, Uber said it is confident of completing requirements by August 20.
“We are working closely with the DOTC and LTFRB and are confident of completing the relevant formalities for accreditation in the time stipulated,” Uber spokesperson Karun Arya said in an email.
Netizens have however mistakenly interpreted the crackdown as a wrathful move of LTFRB and DOTC against Uber in general, and has sparked criticism towards the government agency.
The LTFRB has repeatedly stated it will only go after UNREGISTERED TNVs. Those that are registered will be allowed to continue their business.
This was made clear and emphasized after automotive journalist James Deakin made allegations (later proven to be false and refuted by the LTFRB) that LTFRB is out to make their own TNV company in the form of Premium Taxis and putting undue pressure on companies like Uber.
Well, that looks like this is another case of sensationalism and yellow journalism on the part of Deakin.