Grab Philippines said its fares is “legal and upfront “ and covered by a Department of Transportation Order in 2015 which allowed Transport Network Companies to set their own fares.
Leo Gonzales, head of Grab Philippines Public Affairs, said even the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board confirmed this in a February 2016 decision saying the DO is “valid, legal and subsisting until nullified by court.”
“The LTFRB decision also said the DO was issued to ‘promote mobility’ and respond to the needs of the modern commuter (who is)...able and willing to pay more for better transport services,” Gonzales said.
The Grab statement came after PBA Representative Jericho Nograles accused the ride-sharing app it charging an “illegal” minimum fare of P80 and charging its passengers of P2 per minute.
“Because of his efforts, the P2 per minute fare component was suspended by LTFRB. This reduced the income of drivers and discouraged them from going out and serving our passengers. That is why we have an extreme lack of vehicles and why the public find it hard to get a ride,” he said.
He said the P2 fare per minute component is legal because it was imposed at the time that the 2015 DO was still in effect.
The DO was taken back when a new one was issued in August 2017 requiring all fares to be approved by the LTFRB moving forward.
“So how can Nograles claim the fares are illegal when the fares have always been upfront and the DO allowing us to set fares with LTFRB’s oversight was in effect? The riding public is suffering because of Nograles’ mistaken claims,” he said.
The DO, he said, was issued when the ride-hailing service was new and the government at that time was looking for ways to give the public another transport choice.
“That DO actually put the Philippines way ahead in the region as far as support for TNCs and it was the reason the ride-hailing service here blossomed immediately. Unfortunately, we are now back to the real world again because of politics,” he said.
In a statement, Grab accused Nograles of using the issue for political purposes, hurting riding public and drivers.
It added that Nograles may be rocking the boat for his political ends, not really to protect the riding public. Proof is his own bill in Congress wants the TNCs to set their own fares, “exactly what he is opposing now by questioning our fares that are based on the 2015 DO,” he said.