So the LTFRB have just fined Uber and grab 5 million pesos each for operating without the necessary permits. These are permits that they have already applied for, but which the LTFRB have put on hold for a year.
I don’t want to hit the panic button just yet (as I am placing an enormous amount of faith that the LTFRB will do what is right here) but I do want to give them a better picture of how their decision impacts the riding public before they hand down their decision on the fate of these ride sharing services.
I want to give the decision-makers a snapshot of the amount of people that actually rely on and trust these services as their safest option when commuting. I want them to understand that the whole success of ride sharing was born from the failures of taxis––so please, do not regulate them back into the same broken model that got us into this mess to begin with.
This hearing should be solely about looking for anything that improves the lives of commuters. Not about protecting business interests. Remember when Skype and Viber went through essentially the same thing and how the networks even managed to bar them from being used on their 3G networks? The telcos lobbied hard and even got governement to legistlate against these cheaters. But it didn’t work. Because people aren’t that stupid.
We understand the need for rules, but let’s not use that to punish companies who have simply found a better way. Because essentially that is what it is for us commuters: a better way. And an optional one at that. Nobody is forced to take it. In fact, they even have to pay a premium for it. And they are still lining up in droves. Demand in some areas is up 2.5X over the last year alone. Despite the suspension. So what does that tell you?
We know you are just trying to do your job. But with respect, this is quite possibly the only thing under your office that does not need fixing.
Denying Grab and Uber permits to operate does not equate to less cars on the road; it just means less options. People will still need to move around. That was happening long before these two players came in and will continue to grow in their absence. But the danger is, going by the profile of these riders at least, they will not jump in a cab or a bus. Majority of them will use a private car. So that is what you will effectively be replacing them with.
Your mission, according to your own website, is to “Ensure that the commuting public has adequate, safe, convenient, environment-friendly and dependable public land transportation services at reasonable rates through the implementation of land- based transportation policies, programs, and projects responsive to an investment-led and demand-driven industry.”
If that is true, then why don’t you ask us what we, the riding public, want? This is your defining moment. A chance to show who’s side you are really on.
So if our two cents really counts, I’ve prepared a simple poll for you. I really hope you can take in all these voices before you make your decision.