Grab Philippines on Wednesday asked the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory to maximize the 65,000 transportation network vehicle service slots following the sharp decline in the number of active drivers.
“Our main goal of urging the LTFRB to maximize the current supply cap is for us to be able to service the ride-hailing passengers more effectively, and to hopefully avoid the December 2019 situation from happening again, where commuters are unable to get a car for hours or worse left stranded during the holidays,” Grab Philippines country head Brian Cu said.
Cu said the additional supply would replace the thousands of drivers who churned out and service the estimated 5.2 million ride-hailing passenger bookings forecasted to happen starting March 2020.
Cu said his request to maximize the current supply cap aimed to proactively address a looming commuter pain point similar to that experienced in December 2019 when there were around three million booking requests served by a scarce supply of 35,000 TNVS drivers.
He said this led to many commuters waiting for hours to be allocated a ride, or worse left stranded during the holidays.
Cu said without the additional supply, passenger allocation was expected to drop significantly throughout the rest of 2020.
“We’re seeing an increase in demand already bit by bit on a weekly basis, so again if the active daily supply doesn’t go up, by March and April that 70 percent [passenger] allocation will come back down to 60 percent,” Cu said.
“Even if the supply stays steady, we’re losing maybe 1,000 drivers a month,” he said.
Grab Philippines said that it had at most 33,000 active drivers in its platform as of February, a 2,000 reduction from its 35,000 active driver count in December 2019.
“Out of the 55,000 slots, 7,000 to 10,000 are inactive, We have request to take that and recycle that slots,” Cu said, adding that the inactive drivers were still counted under the cap placed by the LTFRB.
Grab observed a decline in active TNVS drivers last year which was attributed to natural causes such as the decline in income due to traffic and increase in the price of petroleum and other personal reasons.
“We want our regulators, driver-partners and passengers to be more prepared, and we will continue to work closely with the government by providing them with sound and reasonable insights,” Cu said.
“We hope that these insights and findings would enable them to form informed decisions on policies, especially those affecting the welfare of both our commuters and driver-partners,” he said.