Camarines Sur Rep. Luis Ray Villafuerte on Saturday said the failure of the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board to meet the deadline on the release of guidelines governing the conduct of transport network vehicle services (TNVS)—Grab and Uber—underscores the need to revisit the agency’s task of exercising control over such service providers.
He said the LTFRB may be having a difficult time coming up with a comprehensive set of guidelines for TNVS as well as for transport network companies (TNCs) due to its misguided interpretation on the role of the service providers.
“The LTFRB treats TNVS and TNCs as common carriers like taxicabs and passenger buses when the nature of the service they provide clearly show that they are not. This is probably the reason it is having a hard time coming up with the guidelines,” he said.
He reacted to reports the LTFRB extended the validity of the provisional authority for TNVS from a year to two years after failing to beat its own deadline on the release of the guidelines.
Senator Grace Poe earlier called on the LTFRB to issue the guidelines before the holiday rush so as not to inconvenience riders.
Villafuerte said to provide a permanent solution to the issue, Congress must swiftly take up and approve his proposal of coming up with a separate regulatory framework for TNCs and TNVS.
He filed House Bill No. 6467, saying it is the Department of Transportation, not the LTFRB, that has authority over TNCs and TNVS since such vehicles used in point-to-point (P2P) transport services are “private carriers,” and not common or public carriers, that fall under LTFRB supervision.
He added that TNCs do not provide transportation services but merely link a potential customer with a third party driver or TNVS, and are therefore not parties to a transportation contract.
Under the bill, the DOTR may also promulgate rules “concerning administration, fees, penalties, additional safety requirements, and financial responsibility requirements,” he said.