Grab to fight LTFRB P10-million fine for ‘overcharging’

In File Photo: Two members of the Grab staff wait on customers at a Grab booth located at the main entrance of Robinsons Place in Malate, Manila.

GRAB Philippines will exhaust all administrative and legal means to overturn the decision of the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) to fine the company P10 million for supposedly overcharging its customers.

Brian P. Cu, who heads the Philippine subsidiary of global transportation network company (TNC) Grab, said his group stands by the legality of its imposition of a P2-per-minute rate on its fare matrix for about 10 months from June 2017 to April 2018.

He cited an order issued earlier by the then-Department of Transportation and Communications (DOTC) that allowed TNCs to set their own fare structures, while being overseen by the regulator.

The said order, however, was rescinded when the Department of Transportation gave the LTFRB full regulatory and supervisory functions over TNCs and transportation network vehicle services (TNVS) operators in June.

“Grab will exhaust all administrative and legal measures until the decision is overturned or resolved with finality,” Cu said, noting that Grab will file an appeal before the transportation department to overturn the said decision.

Late Tuesday saw the regulator partly granting the motion for reconsideration of Grab against an earlier order requiring the company to pay a P10-million fine and to reimburse its customers for charging a P2-per-minute rate from June 2017 to April 2018.

Leo Emmanuel Gonzales, who heads the public affairs division of Grab Philippines, noted the fight against the P10-million fine is “not a matter of amount, but a matter of principle.”

“It’s partly a blessing because they did recognize and saw a little to no legal basis for the rebate. We need to seek the right measure and means to resolve this,” he said.

In a related development, the regulator “signed” a decision approving the P2-per-minute provisional charge on Grab rides, LTFRB Board Member Aileen A. Lizada said.

Based on the document, Hype’s petition for the P2-per-minute charge was also approved. It will take effect 15 days from now.

Cu said the reimposition of the P2-per-minute charge will help entice drivers to be on the road, and thus help solve the supply problem that the industry is facing right now.

In Grab’s research, the Philippines needs roughly 80,500 TNVS — or peers — to meet the more than 600,000 booking requests per day.

Currently, supply is capped at 65,000 vehicles, and only 70 percent are active — the rest either decided not to continue offering their services or are not in the regulator’s “master list” of registered drivers.

Image Credits: Alysa Salen

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Sources regularly see Lorenz at telco and transport conferences. He graduated from the University of Santo Tomas, and has been covering the beat since 2013. He likes to featurize stories, and tries to find another angle for spot news. He travels during his spare time, and likes his coffee black -- no cream, no sugar.

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