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Senate ‘seatmates’ call for probe on LTFRB franchise rules for Uber, Grab

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Despite the reported “compromise” reached by Uber and Grab operators with the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB), five senators have called for an inquiry into the agency’s procedures in granting franchises to shared ride services such as Uber and Grab.

Initiated by Sen. Joel Villanueva, the proposed inquiry into LTFRB regulations seeks to ensure the safety of commuters and address the issue of public transportation in the country.

Villanueva’s filed resolution No. 431 is expected to be co-authored by his fellow “Seatmates” namely Senators Sonny Angara, Joseph Victor “JV” Ejercito, Sherwin Gatchalian and Juan Miguel “Migz” Zubiri.

They said the present TNVS set-up of tapping drivers as independent contractors presents a gap in accountability in terms of drivers’ and consumers’ welfare, yet provide potential tax revenue for the government by way of utilizing underutilized resources.

It was apparent that Villanueva’s move was also promoted by reports on the online petition by more than 100,000 commuters who expressed their indignation over the LTFRB’s plan to suspend all applications for provisional authority or temporary permits to operate and this is seen to affect 72% of the TNVS or those considered as “colorum.”

As such, the LTFRB announced that starting July 26, it will start apprehending Grab and Uber drivers who operate without a certificate of public convenience or provisional authority.

The LTFRB had earlier imposed a P5 million fine each for Uber and Grab for allowing some of their drivers to operate without permits.

Following a closed-door meeting Wednesday at the Senate initiated by Ejercito, the LTFRB agreed to consider the motion for reconsideration that will be filed by Uber and Grab and other TNVS on the said suspension order until legal remedies are arrived at by all the concerned parties.


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