LTFRB raises cap on Uber, Grab cars

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, February 12) — The Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) has raised the number of Grab and Uber vehicles allowed on the streets of Manila from the current 45,000 to 65,000 for the riding public's convenience.

LTFRB on Monday issued Memorandum Circular Number 2018-005 revising the common supply base for transport network vehicle services (TNVS) units for some key cities in the country.

Under the MC, 65,000 TNVS units will be allowed in Metro Manila, 1,500 units in Metro Cebu and 250 units in Pampanga.

The issuance of the MC followed the audit commissioned by the LTFRB to determine how many Uber and Grab cars are on the road.

Based on the audit, there are 59,020 vehicles signed up to either transport network companies (TNCs) as of July 2017. The TNCs will share the 65,000 allocation equally.

The audit was based on the master list provided by both Grab and Uber.

With the increase in the number of TNVS units on the road, LTFRB board member Aileen Lizada hopes Uber and Grab will be able to accommodate more bookings from customers.

At the current 45,000 cap, the TNCs are only able respond to 52 percent of bookings.

"That (increase) means to say the TNCs will be able to serve 75 percent of the bookings," she said in a press conference.

"Dapat mas mabilis na ang serbisyo niyo at wala na sana yung mga cancellation na parang Oplan Isnabero na hi tech," she added.

Lizada said the cap will be reviewed every three months to determine if it should be increased.

To fill the 6,000-vehicle gap of TNVS units in Metro Manila, Lizada said the LTFRB will coordinate with Grab and Uber on the list of their drivers who became active again after July 2017.

She advised drivers who are considering to buy new cars as TNVS units not to take the plunge just yet.

"To the others, we are not encouraging you to buy brand new cars kasi ang uunahin namin sa LTFRB ay ipo-proseso yung 59,020," Lizada said.

The LTFRB will begin the application process for TNVS units on March 5. However, it will be Uber and Grab which will submit the list of accredited units on their respective databases, not the partner-drivers.

Uber and Grab welcomed the increase in cap for TNVS units.

Brian Cu, country head of Grab Philippines, said the rise in the common supply base will ensure their current drivers will not be jobless.

"With that 65,000, lahat ng bumibiyahe ngayon na active in the last 30 days, will continue to be able to be active going forward," he said.

With more cars on the road, Uber will also be able to cope with the demand better, he added.

"With regard to the current demand, I think the 65,000 will be apt to serve that demand in a respectable way," Cu said.

Irish Almeida, public policy associate of Uber Philippines, said they will work with LTFRB on the quarterly review of the common supply base.

Meanwhile, the MC also allows hatchbacks to continue plying the roads of Metro Manila, but they will have to charge lower fares.

The new fares for hatchbacks will need the LTFRB's approval.