GrabCar hits Davao City streets

Grab Philippines Country Head Grace Vera Cruz (center) leads the official launch of GrabCar in Davao City. Present in the event are Davao City Vice Mayor Melchor Quitain, Jr., LTFRB-Davao Regional Director Nonito Llanos III, and other key leaders from the leading superapp.
Grab Philippines Country Head Grace Vera Cruz (center) leads the official launch of GrabCar in Davao City. Present in the event are Davao City Vice Mayor Melchor Quitain, Jr., LTFRB-Davao Regional Director Nonito Llanos III, and other key leaders from the leading superapp.Ramcez Villegas/SunStar Photo

GRAB Philippines, a leading Transportation Network Vehicle Services (TNVS) provider in the country, launched its flagship mobility service, GrabCar, in Davao City on Friday, October 13. 

The event took place at the Dusit Thani 1 Ball Room, where it was announced that 200 GrabCar units would be serving Dabawenyos and tourists within the city.

Grace Vera Cruz, the country head of Grab Philippines, formally announced the good news.

Davao City marks the third major city where Grab Philippines has established its presence, following the initial launch in Metro Manila in 2012 and in Cebu City in 2016.

"The launch of GrabCar is a milestone not of our journey alone but our collective journey towards a future intertwined with shared prosperity, unity, and inclusive progress," Vera Cruz said.

She said the initiative is part of their commitment to address transportation challenges faced in Davao City and across Mindanao.

"At Grab, we do not just see destinations, we see journeys. We just don't facilitate rides, we aspire to drive dreams forward," she said.

Before the formal launch, Grab users had already eagerly anticipated this new feature on the ride-hailing service app.

Vera Cruz explained that the delay in Grab's entry into Davao City was due to various factors, including internal considerations within Grab and external factors like government regulations and the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.

As Grab expands its fleet of driver-partners to meet the rising demand for safe and accessible transportation, it hopes to support the local government's goals of creating livelihood opportunities and enhancing MICE (Meetings, Incentives, Conferences, and Exhibitions) and tourism support.

"We are humbled and excited to offer you an alternative means of mobility," Vera Cruz said.

Grab Philippines Country Head Grace Vera Cruz.
Grab Philippines Country Head Grace Vera Cruz.Ramcez Villegas/SunStar Photo

In addressing the transportation challenges identified by the Mindanao Development Authority, Grab Philippines aims to bridge the gap between economic activities and the region's overall connectivity.

She assured Dabawenyos that GrabCar prioritizes safety, offering several safety features within the Grab super application. 

In addition to ride-hailing, grocery, and food delivery services, Grab Philippines also promoted GrabAcademy, an online platform offering upskilling opportunities to their drivers and delivery partners.

Currently, around 130 to 140 GrabCar units are operational in the city, primarily serving downtown areas, northern areas in Lasang, and southern areas in Toril and Calinan.

Davao City Vice Mayor J. Melchor Quitain
Davao City Vice Mayor J. Melchor QuitainRamcez Villegas/SunStar Photo

Davao City Vice Mayor J. Melchor Quitain highlighted the significance of GrabCar's entry in revitalizing the city's economy after the COVID-19 pandemic and addressing the city's public transportation demands. He also emphasized the importance of safety through Grab's "track your ride" feature.

"Very important ang safety of the passengers (The safety of passengers is very important), especially here in Davao City. Our thrust is peace and safety," the vice mayor said.

The Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board-Davao Region (LTFRB-Davao) is collaborating with Grab to ensure convenience for the riding public and has approved approximately 200 GrabCar units. 

LTFRB-Davao regional director Nonito Llanos III
LTFRB-Davao regional director Nonito Llanos IIIRamcez Villegas/SunStar Photo

LTFRB-Davao regional director Nonito Llanos III said some units are still in the process of complying with required documents within three months before being allowed to operate. 

LTFRB-Davao is considering adding more units in response to the 600 pending applications filed in their office by those interested in joining the Grab community.

“We will stop at the number 200 but it doesn’t mean to say that we will not add. That would depend on the study which is being undertaken by our office right now in collaboration with the LTFRB central office,” he added.

Just like Grab’s color trademark, Vera Cruz and Llanos affirmed that GrabCar operations in the city would adhere to government environmental standards.

The Davao City government is pushing for the Davao Public Transport Modernization Project (DPTM), previously referred to as the High Priority Bus System (HPBS). This initiative will introduce electric bus fleets, significantly reducing greenhouse gas emissions and championing climate action.

Following the formal signing of the loan agreement between the Asian Development Bank (ADB) and the Philippine government, the implementation of the DPTM is poised to benefit Dabawenyo commuters soon.

Llanos also bared that there is expressed interest from a prominent motorcycle taxi service to operate within the city. However, it's important to note that granting franchises for two-wheeled vehicles, such as motorcycles, falls outside the jurisdiction of local authorities. Authorization for their operation in specific areas would need to come from Congress.

"Pero so far under LTFRB, wala pa (As of now, under LTFRB, there haven't been any developments)," he said.

Despite the increasing presence of Transportation Network Vehicle Services (TNVS) and private vehicles, this growth is not expected to hinder the city's objective of encouraging private vehicle owners to opt for buses once the DPTM is fully operational. The additional TNVS providers are seen as complementary services catering to different demographics.

“Lahi na mga riders ilang gina-catter. Mostly [they cater] tourists and business people. Pag-abot man gud sa bus system sa Davao [City] puhon, ilang i-cater is mga common individuals [such as] students and MSMEs (They cater to various types of riders. Primarily, they serve tourists and business people. However, once the bus system is established in Davao City, it will cater to a broader audience, including students and MSMEs)," Llanos said. RGL


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