The Durterte government on Friday suspended the approval of new transportation network vehicle service applications due to a pending review of existing policies and certain issues.
The Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board in a directive suspended the acceptance of all TNVS applications proposing to ply on the route within Metro Manila or entering the capital region.
“The Technical Division is directed not to accept any TNVS applications upon the effectivity of this circular. All Regional Offices are likewise not to accept TNVS applications with proposed route to operate entering Metro Manila,” the directive said.
The order will take effect immediately after its publication in at least one newspaper.
Cherie Mercado, spokesperson of the Transportation Department, said the suspension of new TNVS application was due to the higher volume of applications and review of fare scheme.
Transportation said a total of 29,151 pending TNVS applications were filed with LTFRB as of July 15.
Grab had 5,727 applicants while Uber had 23,293 applicants. Uhop received 131 requests.
Brian Cu, country head of Grab Philippines, said thousands of aspiring TNV operators would be affected by the latest development, along with the thousands of passengers who rely on the company’s services daily.
“At the moment, there is still more demand for our services than supply and the capping of applications will only take away an alternative for individuals who want to earn extra or those who want to improve their livelihoods,” Cu said.
“TNVs do not add to the congestion on the roads in Manila. In fact, we offer the solution by providing vehicles the technology that utilize GPS data to work around traffic and road hazards. This takes away coasting along roads to pick up passengers at random intervals, maximizing time spent on the road and cost efficiency,” he added.
Cu said Grab would like to extend its support to aid the LTFRB in strengthening the policies and regulations, which will help push for the betterment of the transportation industry.
“We would like to respectfully request to be included in the dialogue because we firmly believe that we are part of the solution to the issues of the industry,” he said.
Uber said in a statement while it respected the decision of the LTFRB to suspend the acceptance and processing of new TNVS application, it impeded “our goal to get more people into fewer cars.”
“Fewer drivers on Uber leads to lower reliability of service for riders in Metro Manila, who have come to rely on Uber as a viable alternative to buying and driving their own private vehicles,” Uber said.
“This decision also comes at a time when we are trying to help improve the traffic situation in Metro Manila by providing an efficient method of carpooling through uberPOOL, a service that is able to match riders heading towards the same direction in real-time, so that instead of having to use two cars, they can share one,” it added.