Transpo app questioned over ‘misuse’ concerns

Transpo app questioned over ‘misuse’ concerns
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SOME users of a delivery and transporation app are allegedly using the platform for sexual services instead of its intended purposes, such as booking a ride or availing any of the delivery services.

This concern reached the Cebu City Council, prompting them to call the attention of the company operating the transportation app to address the issue back in October of 2023.

In their response letter submitted to the Council dated Jan. 12, 2024, Taxsee Philippines Inc., the company operating Maxim rides and food delivery, said it had already taken steps to address this issue. The letter was signed by its president, Andres Morales Jr.

The company said it has removed specific features on the transportation app, particularly the “massage and spa” and “bike” options.

On the attached copy of the resolution sponsored by City Councilor Rey Gealon and approved by the Council last Oct. 25, 2023, the council learned that numerous Maxim drivers received bookings from users who would ask for sexual services.

Gealon, in his resolution, said the transportation app has a feature that allows the driver and passenger to communicate through phone calls and text to coordinate the booking details.

“Such illicit bookings are alarming as they pose threats to the safety and security of riders who are earnestly working for a living and do not need to be on the receiving end of any illicit sexual favors,” a portion of the approved resolution reads.

The council then requested Maxim to look into the case happening on the transportation app.

The company responded to the council’s request more than two months after the resolution was approved, saying such bookings were made under the massage and spa and bike options, which have already been removed from the application on March 15, 2023 and May 23, respectively.

Morales also said the users who allegedly made inappropriate and illicit requests, after their internal investigation and verification, were already blocked from accessing the application.

Protocol

Morales said when delivery riders receive messages asking fo sexual favors, they are advised and encouraged to decline the booking and to report it immediately to their office so the company can take the necessary measures.

Once the customer service officers receive the report, they will call the user to verify the details of the complaint.

Once verified that the booking is fraudulent and not for delivery services, the user will be given a warning that repetition of the same complained acts will merit a deactivation and deletion of their accounts, said Morales.

Morales said their riders are also given an orientation on Republic Act 11313, or the Safe Spaces Act or Bawal Bastos Law, to emphasize the acts that are considered sexual harassment under the law and its corresponding penalties.

He also said riders are given a refresher on proper decorum when communicating with their clients to ensure the quality of their services.

“We abhor and do not condone in any way these types of behavior from... app users or rider-partners,” said Morales in the letter.

“As any company involved in the business of the ever-evolving digital world, the application is not as perfect as one might hope but rest assured that it is continuously being developed so that better security measures can be put in place to prevent and block any fraudulent bookings of the same kind,” he added.

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