THE Department of Transportation (DoTr) has officially bestowed on the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) full regulatory and supervisory functions over ride-hailing companies and their peers, allowing the regulator to have full control on fare structures, franchise grants and penalty.
With the new department order issued on Monday, the regulator can now set the base fare, the charge per kilometer and the surge pricing on services offered by transportation network companies (TNCs) like Grab.
The fare structures will be subject to public hearings and consultations before approval, the order read.
Before the issuance of the said order, ride-hailing companies are allowed to tweak their fare structures, subject to the approval of the board.
Transportation Director for Communication Goddes Hope O. Libiran said the issuance of the department order signals a more regulated ride-hailing market in the Philippines.
“The function of the LTFRB before was more of oversight. With the new order, we have institutionalized that it will have full regulatory and supervisory functions over TNCs,” she said in a phone interview.
Aside from setting fares, the regulator is now empowered to have regulatory and supervisory functions over the following: application and approval or denial of franchise, routes, operating conditions and imposition of fines, suspension and cancellation of franchise.
“We acknowledge the value of TNCs into our land transport system. A lot of countries are still figuring out as to how to handle them. But since it is convenient and efficient, and our people need them, it is but imperative for us to give them space,” Transportation Secretary Arthur P. Tugade said. He added that regulation is seen to benefit all parties.
“Regulation is important to check and ensure that no one is being abused,” Tugade said. “All we want is to have a level playing field and fair competition.”
DOTr Undersecretary for Road Transport and Infrastructure Thomas M. Orbos noted the regulation takes into consideration the safety and protection of consumers.
“With an operations imbued with public interest, state regulation is necessary in order to ensure the interests of all parties, most especially the riding public, are protected,” he said.
The regulatory agency’s chief, Martin B. Delgra III, said his agency is gearing for a better relationship with TNCs and transportation network vehicle services (TNVS) operators.
“The LTFRB has been engaging with TNCs and TNVS operators and drivers far more often than any other group over the past year. It is because we see their value, and because we believe that if done right, they will make a big difference and our commuters will ultimately benefit,” he said.