Grab sanctions erring drivers as bookings spike

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Grab Philippines announced a clean-up of its driver members amid a spike in bookings following the suspension of rival ride-sharing firm Uber.

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“We have already deactivated 10 drivers and suspended almost 500 for booking cancellations,” Brian Cu said in a statement on Friday.

“Passengers cancelling bookings at least six times will also be suspended or deactivated from the platform,” Cu added.

Uber was suspended on Monday by the Land Transportation Franchising Regulatory Board for not complying with an order to stop accepting driver applicants.

Both Uber and Grab were originally cited for adding drivers without authorization and had continued to do so despite the LTFRB directive. Grab, however, complied when regulators reiterated the order.

Uber’s suspension has led to a rise in social media complaints against Grab’s services, with riders calling out the lack of available cars or drivers arbitrarily cancelling bookings.

In an effort to address demand, the LTFRB on Thursday said that Uber drivers would be allowed to sign up with Grab and another transport network company, U-Hop.

“In accordance to the LTFRB’s order, we will accommodate the members of the TNVS community who wants to join Grab’s platform as long as they abide by requirements clearly stated in the Order and the company’s policies,” Grab said on Thursday.

“Aside from the fare cAp we’ve put in place to help ensure that consumers continue to pay a reasonable fare, we will also ensure that the on-boarding process will be smooth so that these TNVS (transport network vehicle service) drivers can start to make a living again,” it added.

U-hop, on the other hand, said that Uber drivers may use their platform free of charge.

“In line with the LTFRB’s ruling to accommodate the UBER Drivers/Operators, U-Hop is extending its unequivocal support with utmost expediency,” U-hop said.

“During this period, existing UBER Drivers/Operators can register and use our platform FREE of charge, zero commission. In return, no surcharging is allowed to best serve the interest of the riding public,” it said.

The LTFRB said that only drivers in the master list submitted by Uber would be allowed to transfer.

After initially defying the suspension order, Uber has asked regulators to allow the firm to pay a P10-million fine in lieu of halting operations.

“Uber has filed a second pleading urging the LTFRB to accept a fine rather than a suspension as a solution, to reduce the burden on the Filipino rider and driver community,” Uber said in a statement.

“We are also offering financial assistance to driver partners, as we work to urgently resolve this matter, and hope to be able to serve the Philippines again as soon as possible,” Uber added.

The LTFRB has yet to review the petition.

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