Uber, Grab shutdown to worsen Metro traffic woes — Nograles

HEAVY traffic at Commonwealth Avenue in Quezon City, Philippines.

INSTEAD of cracking down on Uber and Grab, Puwersa ng Bayaning Atleta (PBA) Partylist Rep. Jericho Nograles said the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) should first address the proliferation of “colorum” buses, jeepneys, taxis and UV Express and dismantle illegal terminals that abound even in major traffic choke points.

Nograles said while it is correct that the LTFRB cannot allow unregistered drivers and operators, which is the issue being raised in the case of Uber and Grab, it should not also turn a blind eye on the fact that a huge number of people find it safer and more convenient to use these transport network services, rather than take a taxi driven by rude cabbies.

“The problem has been lingering since the past administration. I urge the new LTFRB to address this once and for all. Surely there’s a win-win somewhere,” Nograles said.

Nograles, who admits being a frequent Uber and Grab user, said LTFRB officials must be in touch with the realities on the traffic situation in Metro Manila and in other highly urbanized cities nationwide, and that there are far bigger problem makers that merit immediate attention.

“What they do not understand is the fact that while it is true that traffic volume is causing Metro Manila’s traffic, it should not be blamed on Uber and Grab because unlike other public conveyances that are constantly on the road to get passengers, most of these transport network services are only on the road when they have a client. Our LTFRB folks should address the real causes of traffic like illegal terminals and colorum taxis, buses and jeepneys,” Nograles said.

Nograles said that instead of solving Metro Manila’s traffic mess, shutting down the operation of network transport service providers would even make it worse as this would mean an increased passenger build-up on train stations and on major road chokepoints where buses, jeepneys and UV Express normally converge to get passengers.

Nograles challenged the officials of the LTFRB to take public transport especially during Fridays and see for themselves if there is any basis for their claim that Uber and Grab are causing Metro Manila’s traffic problem.

And if any of the LTFRB officials can prove that it is easier and safer to ride any other means of transportation other than Grab and Uber and can fully establish that these network transport conveyances are causing Metro Manila’s traffic woes, Nograles said that they can immediately declare a complete ban on the use of these hailing platforms.

And with the constant breakdowns of the MRT 3 system, Nograles said that suspending the operation of Uber and Grab would deny the riding public a safe and comfortable alternative transportation method.

“People are using Uber and Grab precisely because they don’t want to ride on these bad-smelling public conveyances driven by rude drivers. They get Uber and Grab because they fear riding on MRT due to constant breakdowns. People patronize their services because they feel safer and more comfortable. Why take this away from them?” he pointed out.

“The traffic is so bad and the government is trying is best to address the presidential promise to address traffic. The suspension of Uber and Grab will only worsen traffic. These are private entities that are heavily self regulated and pay their taxes correctly. Don’t kill it,” Nograles stressed.