Senators on Monday aired concerns against potential “predatory pricing” by Grab, which enjoys virtual monopoly status after buying out sole rival Uber in the transportation network vehicle services (TNVS).
This, as Sen. Sherwin T. Gatchalian, chairman of the Senate’s Economic Affairs Committee, said that he is expecting the Philippine Competition Commission (PCC) and the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) to step up and “closely monitor anti-competitive practices” in the TNVS.
“Both the PCC and the LTFRB, as government regulators, should go deeper into the cost structure of the TNVS or ride-hailing services,” Gatchalian said.
The lawmaker suggested the two agencies “should also establish benchmarks that are internationally accepted to detect potential abuses of a monopoly.”
Gatchalian prodded the LTFRB to review all fees and charges being added to Grab commuters’ fare.
“They [LTFRB and PCC] should not allow charges higher than those imposed in other countries,” he added.
At the same time, Gatchalian said the LTFRB should mandate that Grab give a breakdown in their receipts and be “more transparent” on how they charge commuters’ fare.
For her part, Sen. Grace Poe, who chairs the Senate’s Public Services Committee that issues franchises, categorically warned that “there should be no room for predatory pricing by a firm allowed to engage in public service.”
Poe said that “being the surviving entity does not authorize Grab to grab more profits.”
She added that regulatory agencies should see to it that the riding public is protected, while ensuring that Grab’s drivers earn a fair income for hard work.
“I am hopeful that through dialogue and open channels of communications, all the stakeholders can strike a balance that will not hurt the pockets of Grab’s riders but will not leave Grab’s drivers empty-handed either.”