LTFRB reacts to GRAB claim of supply crisis

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The Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) is not taking GRAB’s accusation that it is to blame for the shortage of transport network vehicle service (TNVS).

“GRAB has been sending its members/drivers an e-mail essentially blaming the government for what they call a supply crisis,” said LTFRB in a statement issued Monday.

The transport network company (TNC) claims that the crisis stemmed from the “masterlist” of vehicles allowed to service passengers and the supply cap of 65,000.

According to GRAB, out of this number, only 35,000 are on the road on a daily basis due to coding, part-time drivers, and other reasons.

Further, GRAB is telling its members that the LTFRB has not acted on its proposal to increase the supply cap.

“Grab seems to confuse drivers with TNVS in determining supply. LTFRB issues franchises or Provisional Authority (PA) to TNVS for them to legally get bookings and accept passengers. Hence, if a TNVS with a PA or franchise cannot run because it does not have driver, it can find a replacement driver,” the LTFRB said.

The agency defended the masterlist saying it was determined in consultation with the accredited TNCs and included TNC-accredited TNVS that have been operating without a PA or being a colorum vehicle.

“In order not to disrupt service, colorum TNVs were allowed to continue to get bookings in the meantime and accept passengers through the Grab system. Their inclusion in the Masterlist gives them temporary legitimacy while they are given time to apply for a franchise,” explained the LTFRB.

It added, “Currently, LTFRB is accepting applications for TNVS franchises, even outside the Masterlist, contrary to the statement of Grab that TNVS allowed to apply for a franchise are limited to the Masterlist. In fact, LTFRB has just completed the online registration of 10,000 new cars in addition to the Masterlist, with plans to open registration for TNVS applicants for those slots in the masterlist which have become inactive.”

With the current number of TNCs servicing the TNVS already operating, among them Hype, Owto, GoLag and Epickmeup, plus two new TNCs – Hirna and Micab — providing taxi service and several other TNCs with applications pending consideration, the LTFRB said service will not be adversely affected.

As for the number coding scheme, which reduced the number of available cars on the roads of Metro Manila, the agency said did not come from it.

“In fact, it is the position of the agency that all public transport be exempt from the number coding scheme in order to be able to offer the riding public more public transport options and thus discourage the use of private vehicles. Further, the MMDA, through General Manager Jojo Garcia, likewise expressed their agency’s intent to lift the number coding scheme for all public utility vehicles, provided that the private sector will extend their full cooperation and support in initiatives such as carpooling, and utilization of public transport,” said the LTFRB.

“We note Grab sharing its position on these issues in public notwithstanding the frequent, open and cordial dialogue with TNCs, including Grab. It makes us wonder, however, why Grab puts LTFRB on the spot, so to speak and in an uncomfortable position. As DoTr (Department of Transportation) and LTFRB seek ways to expedite to complete the target of 65,000 TNVS with the required franchises, it is to Grab’s best interest to engage its own constituency and help clarify the issues,” said the LTFRB.

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