Cebu City officials: Transport networks are better alternative

FOR Cebu City Councilor Raymond Alvin Garcia, the services provided by transport networks Uber and Grab are convenient and safe alternative means of transportation for commuters.

Garcia, a lawyer, said that the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) should consider the needs of the riding public, and not just the taxi operators.

“If world-class cities in the world can have Uber and Grab, I don’t see why our city should not,” Garcia said. “I’ll do my best in my limited capacity as (a) councilor to give the public as many options as possible to safely get to their destination.” Cebu City Mayor Tomas Osmeña, on the other hand, said that he will ask the Cebu Chamber of Commerce and Industry (CCCI) to take a stand on the plight of drivers who use transport networking to earn a living.

He said that while he understands that the regulatory board is only doing its job, Osmeña said that LTFRB should also realize that these innovations “give better” service.

“My heart is very sensitive about killing small businesses. It’s not Uber or Grab that’s the small business, it’s the individual car owner. They’re not stealing or trying to cause harm. They’re just trying to find a living by using an innovation which happens to work,” he said.

Osmeña said that Uber and Grab can actually help solve traffic since they’re always moving and don’t have to stay in line.

If the problem is on competition, the mayor said taxi drivers should also come up with new ways to be innovative so that they will be on a fair playing ground with Uber and Grab drivers.

LTFRB 7 Director Ahmed Cuizon said that Uber and Grab are categorized as transport network company (TNC).

He said that the LTFRB Central Office in Manila gave these TNCs the accreditation in July 2015, which is good for two years. It is expected to expire within this month.

Cuizon said that a hearing has been set about this issue in Manila this week, and Uber and Grab, along with their operators and peers, will attend to present their positions on the matter.

Cuizon said that the deadline for Uber and Grab to file their applications to operate as transport network vehicle service (TNVS) was on Sept. 8, 2016, where the LTFRB received a total of 716 applications.

“And we told them that ‘all of you are qualified to apply for provisional authority (PA).’ Until now, out of the 716, there were only about 100 of them, which applied for provisional authority. Where are the 600 others? I don’t know,” said Cuizon.

The LTFRB 7 official said that unless they file for a PA, these TNVs will remain illegal.

Meanwhile, Grab Philippines country head Brian Cu announced in a social media post on his plan to file a motion for reconsideration on LTFRB’s July 11 order, which directed TNS to deactivate all their TNVS partners without PAs.

In its order, the LTFRB board said that operations against colorum TNVs will intensify starting July 26. (EOB/RTF)
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