On the mess that Uber, Grab and LTFRB created

Image by Rappler.

Netizens in Metro Manila are currently losing their minds over the impending crackdown by the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) against alleged “colorum” cars handled by car-booking mobile apps Uber and Grab.

The LTFRB previously fined P5-million each on Uber and Grab for allegedly allowing their drivers to provide public transport despite having no government accreditation, or franchise, yet.

It also said that around 50,000 Grab and Uber drivers might face deactivation of their accreditation and get caught by government for being “colorum” starting July 26.

Government estimates reveal that with such a figure, around 72-percent of Uber and Grab drivers can be considered “colorum” and can be caught for having no franchise.

The agency insisted that the two ride-sharing companies grossly violated LTFRB rules reflected on memoranda released in 2015, which required transport network companies (TNC) to undergo accreditation processes just like any other public transport system, therefore calling unaccredited Uber and Grab drivers “colorum.”

In a radio interview this morning, Grab Philippines spokesman Leo Gonzales admitted Grab’s accountability in the said violation.

“With their open and candid admission, it is clear that they have broken those rules grossly, putting at risk the tens of thousands of TNCs without [provisional authority] or franchise to commit colorum activities” LTFRB Chairman Martin Delgra III meanwhile said in a statement.

However, netizens criticized LTFRB’s actions, with some even throwing cuss words, stressing that Uber and Grab could be the safest and most convenient means of public transport nowadays compared to other public transport vehicles which could almost be called ‘rolling coffins.’

Let us look back:

  1. Uber and Grab were made primarily to promote ride-sharing to ease traffic congestion and reduce problems arising from everyday commute. But what happened? Some Uber and Grab drivers I rode on admitted that they bought the cars they were using just to get into either of these companies and earn. Some of them even said that the traffic situation in Metro Manila worsened with new cars used for Uber or Grab now out on the road.
  2. Uber and Grab are both notorious for the so-called “surge pricing,” wherein the fares spike even drastically due to certain factors, which both explained following the alleged unreasonable surge of fares during the Christmas season. This prompted the LTFRB to impose cap on the surge pricing by Uber and Grab, resulting in much lower fares. With such mechanism, it is already obvious who can afford riding on these, which some consider being the safest and most convenient means of public transport. Oh, did we say “public transport?” Can the poorest of the poor afford riding on Grab and Uber, which claimed that they have “always worked to innovate solutions that improve the lives of people in our cities – from providing income opportunities to our partner-drivers to opening up low-cost and reliable transportation options for riders“?
  3. Oh, did I also mention the safest… means of public transport? Have we already forgotten these?

From these points, it can easily be inferred that Uber and Grab obviously, undoubtedly, evidently violated the terms set by government  upon them considering that they are already part of the public transport system.

No matter how we insist that they are the safest and most convenient means of public transport: they can bring us home when we are tired, threatened or even drunk; they can deliver better assistance to people with extraordinary needs (senior citizens, PWDs); they provide more comfortable rides (some provide discounts or even free charges based on app’s computation, snacks, and even videoke!!!).

Also, though they exercise customer feedback mechanism, we can never be assured that Uber and Grab will be responsible if any unfortunate incident happens to the commuter, unlike in the case of public transport vehicles wherein both transport providers and government are accountable. After Uber and Grab suspended erring drivers, what’s next?

Meanwhile, the LTFRB should do something to resolve this issue… very… qui… ck… l… y… . The LTFRB had been notorious in its real… ly… s… l… … o… … … w… … … … action on complaints and even accreditation processes due to red tape. Looking back, whatever happened to complaints and cases involving taxis (I do not need to enumerate the so many problems we experience from them), and the jeepneys and buses involved in some fatal accidents, just like the road mishaps in Tanay, Nueva Ecija and in Mountain Province which killed comedian Tado Jimenez?

So, to those who support Uber and Grab and slam the LTFRB for completely unfounded and selfish reasons, it is okay that we assert our rights and voice out our grievances but just for once can we just shut up, read up and let those three sons of bitches clean up their mess???

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