SUBIC BAY FREEPORT -- Southeast Asia’s leading internet-based ride-hailing and booking company is receiving positive feedback for its plan to expand operations into this premier free port.

Grab Philippines head for expansion Carlo Cu Unjieng recently outlined the firm’s proposal for a Subic franchise to key Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority (SBMA) officials and asked for feedback on what riding platform would be appropriate here and benefit residents the most.

Cu Unjieng said the firm could position either a GrabTaxi or a GrabCar, or even a GrabBike operation in Subic, depending on the needs of the local riding public.

SBMA Chairman and Administrator Wilma Eisma said the proposal is welcome, as it would result in better transport services within Subic Freeport, especially now that a lot of foreign tourists are arriving via cruise ships.

“I am all for this, because it is an alternative platform for the riding public who would want ease and convenience, as well as competitive rates,” Eisma said.

“Of course this may pose a challenge to existing transport operators in and around the Freeport, but I happen to see it as an opportunity for everybody to step up and improve their services,” she added.

Eisma also advised the Grab official to talk to local government units around the Freeport, pointing out that the neighboring communities would constitute a huge sector of the potential customers.

She added that residents of Zambales and Bataan who work or do business in the Subic Bay Freeport would principally benefit should Grab gain a foothold into Subic and neighboring areas.

Based on responses to an informal survey conducted last week by a local-based social media. Other respondents also expressed hope that Grab operations would be extended into Olongapo City and Subic, Zambales.

Grab, formerly MyTeksi, originated in Singapore, and is now present in seven countries—Malaysia, Indonesia, Vietnam, Thailand, Malaysia, Myanmar, Cambodia, and the Philippines.

In the country, Grab is operational in major urban centers line Manila, Cebu, Davao, Bacolod, Iloilo, Baguio, Cagayan de Oro, Angeles City, and Balanga, Bataan.

Eisma said Grab is primarily needed in the Subic Freeport to modernize the local transportation system and revolutionize how Subic business locators, workers, and visitors are being ferried in and around this growing business and industrial center. (Ric Sapnu)