• ‘Legitimize and regulate Uber, Grab’

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    SENATOR Sherwin Gatchalian on Wednesday said the popularity of transport network vehicle services (TNVS) was enough reason for the government to fully legitimize and regulate their operations.

    The neophyte lawmaker made the statement after popular ride-hailing apps Uber and Grab came under fire for excessive “surge pricing” during the holidays.

    This prompted the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) to cap the surge fares of Uber and Grab to twice the fare.

    Surge pricing is the practice of Uber and Grab of adjusting their rates based on supply of available drivers and passenger demand.

    Usually, surge pricing is imposed by Uber or Grab when there are more passengers than available drivers in an area.

    Gatchalian said Uber and Grab gave commuters more choices in their daily commute and the government, particularly the LTFRB, must act to make sure that commuters are protected.

    Gatchalian said the existence of alternative modes of transportation would be beneficial to the riding public because it would compel existing taxi operators to improve their services in terms of convenience, safety and efficiency.

    The senator has filed Senate Bill 1001 or the Transport Network Service Act that seeks to legitimize the operation of Uber, Grab and other app-based transport services under the regulatory powers of the LTFRB.

    Gatchalian’s bill provides for a contract of carriage once a passenger avails himself or herself of a TNVS.

    Since they will be considered a common carrier, Uber and Grab will be required to maintain a commercial liability insurance policy.

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