LTFRB probes Grab’s ‘il­le­gal’ charges

The Philippine Star - - METRO - By JESS DIAZ and EM­MANUEL TU­PAS

The Land Trans­porta­tion Fran­chis­ing and Reg­u­la­tory Board (LTFRB) yes­ter­day opened an in­ves­ti­ga­tion into Grab’s P2 fee per minute of travel time and other charges it is im­pos­ing on riders.

The board con­ducted a hear­ing on the com­plaint of Rep. Jeri­cho No­grales of party-list group Puw­ersa ng Bayan­ing Atleta, who ex­posed what he de­scribed as Grab’s “il­le­gal” fee.

He said the LTFRB set the next hear­ing for May 29.

No­grales faced off with an­gry Grab driv­ers who ac­cused him of ini­ti­at­ing moves to that will leave them job­less.

One of them was Vince Fer­nando, who was or­dered kicked out of the hear­ing by LTFRB Chair­man Mar­tin Del­gra III af­ter he heck­led No­grales.

“Some 60,000 driv­ers will lose their jobs!” Fer­nando shouted at No­grales as se­cu­rity guards es­corted him out of the room.

Fer­nando in­sisted there is no truth to No­grales’ al­le­ga­tions that they are over­charg­ing their fares.

“Grab has fixed sur­charges un­like taxis where the rates al­ways in­crease,” he said.

Grab driv­ers like­wise booed No­grales while he was be­ing in­ter­viewed by re­porters at the end of the hear­ing.

In re­sponse, No­grales in­sisted the heck­lers should be an­gry with Grab and not at him.

Ex­pla­na­tion needed

Del­gra or­dered Grab to sub­mit doc­u­ments dis­clos­ing when they ac­tu­ally started im­pos­ing the P2 per minute travel fare.

He also di­rected Grab to ex­plain why there is still a fare for book­ings with sim­i­lar pickup and drop-off points.

Del­gra cited a book­ing where Grab charged P80 for a route where the ori­gin and des­ti­na­tion is at the lobby of a hos­pi­tal.

Dur­ing the hear­ing, Grab rep­re­sen­ta­tives ad­mit­ted they im­ple­mented the per­minute travel rate in June 2017, based on the Depart­ment of Trans­porta­tion Or­der 2015-2011 al­low­ing trans­port net­work com­pa­nies to set their own fares.

A vis­i­bly sur­prised Del­gra re­torted, “You al­ready im­ple­mented this with­out in­form­ing the board?”

Grab rep­re­sen­ta­tives said they in­formed the LTFRB about the fare struc­ture dur­ing a tech­ni­cal work­ing group meet­ing in July 2017, adding it is a mea­sure to nor­mal­ize the in­come of their part­ner driv­ers.

Del­gra said the or­der they is­sued on Dec. 27, 2016 low­er­ing Grab’s per kilo­me­ter rates from P12 to P16 to P10 to P14 never men­tioned the P2 per minute travel rate.

Del­gra also ques­tioned why the Grab plat­form is seek­ing fares for book­ings with sim­i­lar pick-up and drop-off points.

Grab coun­try head Brian Cu with their le­gal coun­sels John Paul Nabua and Miguel Aguilla said the plat­form’s al­go­rithm as­sumed that a trip was made de­spite sim­i­lar pick-up and end points.

His ex­pla­na­tion did not sat­isfy Del­gra, who ques­tioned why Grab is still seek­ing a fare hike when the sys­tem de­ter­mines the fares on its own.

“You are ex­plain­ing to the board there is an as­sump­tion which peo­ple may not un­der­stand. So might as well take out that as­sump­tion,” Del­gra said.

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