GRAB Philippines Public Affairs head Leo Gonzales bared the company’s plan to support local public utility vehicle (PUV) operators in complying with the government’s direction towards modernization.

Gonzales, with Bacolod Branch Manager Jocelyn Yoshida, met with Councilor Dindo Ramos, chair of committee on transportation, in Bacolod City Monday, January 15.

They presented the plan on how Grab itself can complement the needs of the local PUV operators in terms of modernizing their vehicles.

“We are not here to compete with the existing operators, but act as their partner to help them modernize their units and operations,” Gonzales said.

This is in line with the government's Local Public Transit Route Rationalization Plan.

Gonzales said there are areas in the city which are “under-served” by existing PUVs and Grab has studied some of these routes which can be possibly opened with the recommendation of the city for the approval of Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) for the issuance of franchise.

“We have made a study on specific routes traversed by existing PUVs, understanding the flow of traffic, including the needs of the commuters. As Bacolod City expands, there are places that the people don’t have access via PUVs. If new routes are opened, this is where Grab can come in to compliment with the local operators,” he said.

“We want to talk to the local operators regarding this plan,” he added.

Ramos said that as long as it will not affect the existing routes and if they can justify the additional need for PUVs in the city, he will recommend the proposal.

But there is a need to talk to the local operators and it will be subject to public consultation to satisfy the interest of the general public, the councilor added.

He also noted that the number of PUV units in the city has not increased, but the demand as to the number of commuters has significantly increased.