MANILA, Aug. 3 — Do Grab and Uber offer ride-sharing or ride-hailing services? This was the question raised by Senator Grace Poe during the Senate hearing tackling issues between the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) and transport network companies (TNCs).
Poe, chair of the Senate Committee on Public Services, said that an answer to her question would help the Senate craft a law that is “responsive” to the characteristics of a transport network vehicle services (TNVS) or the vehicles that operate under a TNC.
“Based on the current set-up where more people are buying cars to operate a fleet or work as full-time drivers, can we really still call this ride-sharing?” Poe said in her opening statement.
Various articles have defined ride-sharing as a service where two or more people share a car trip such as carpooling. On the other hand, ride-hailing is when a passenger makes a request for a personal car.
Grab and Uber have both used the terms ride-sharing and ride-hailing interchangeably.
Aside from differentiating the two terms, Poe also wanted answers to questions on Grab and Uber’s accountability in relation to the event of damage to property or persons and who will be primarily liable and transparency in terms of Grab and Uber’s dynamic pricing scheme including surge prices.
Poe also wanted to know if the increase in TNVS operations added to traffic and whether the LTFRB has numbers to support this claim.
She also mentioned the need to take into consideration the plight of taxi drivers who were losing passengers and drivers who are switching to driving for TNVS. However, she pointed out that Grab and Uber, unlike taxis have a complaint mechanism which taxi companies should replicate.
The senator said that she agreed that TNVS should be looked into with an open mind as it provides a more convenient, efficient form of public service.
“…And precisely because this business is imbued with public interest, we must regulate it. However, regulation should not stifle innovation,” Poe said.
In closing, Poe reminded the LTFRB and Grab and Uber that the goal of the hearing was to balance the “common good.”
The hearing is ongoing as of posting time.
On July 21, 2016, the LTFRB stopped processing TNVS applicants, which resulted in a public uproar, because several TNVS operators or drivers have already purchased cars in the hope that they would be granted a provisional authority (PA) or a certificate of public convenience (CPC) to operate.
TNCs, however, continued to accept TNVS applications despite the order by the LTFRB stopping the processing of applications.