LTFRB tells Grab to amend fare hike petition

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, May 29) — The Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) ordered transport network company (TNC) Grab Philippines on Tuesday to amend its fare hike petition for "transparency and accuracy."

During the hearing on its fare hike petition, transport regulators still could not understand Grab's complicated algorithm that automatically rounds off fares to P80 (standard ride) and P125 (premium ride) for short trips.

In its petition filed in January, Grab seeks to increase its average fare by 5.73% or from P10 to P14 per kilometer charge to P11 to P15, aside from its base rate of P40. Grab wants to increase its rates because of the effects of the Tax Reform for Acceleration and Inclusion (TRAIN) law.

LTFRB, meanwhile, reiterated that Grab cannot charge fares without their approval. 

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"The TNC can no longer unilaterally adjust or even impose their fare, or any of the fare structures that you have placed in your system," said LTFRB Chairman Martin Delgra.

Puwersa ng Bayaning Atleta (PBA) Rep. Jericho Nograles echoed his sentiment. "So nakikita ko po [As I see it], respectfully, that they are now usurping the power of the board, they are now usurping the power of Congress," Nograles said.

But Grab insisted they are not violating anything. "(Department of Transportation and Communications) Department Order 2015-001 authorizes TNCs such as Grab to set fares on their own, subject only to the oversight function of the LTFRB," said Grab legal counsel John Paul Nagua.

 

The agency has overlapping orders since 2015 on how TNCs should carry out their operations. While the LTFRB oversees how buses, jeepneys and taxis formulate their fares, it is different with TNCs.

"All others, they go through public hearing. Pero sa kanila ho, sa TNC, there is no clear cut guidance. All we can do now is to troubleshoot all of these," said LTFRB Board Member Aileen Lozada.

But pending the proposed legislation to set guidelines for TNC operations, LTFRB said it will carry out its mandate to regulate TNCs' fares. Another public hearing with Grab is set on June 26.

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