THE LAND Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) has temporarily stopped accepting new applications for vehicles of ride-sharing apps like Grab, Uber and Uhop in Metro Manila, pending a review.
In Memorandum Circular No. 2016-008 issued on Friday, LTFRB Chairman Martin Delgra 3rd directed all technical division and regional offices to stop the acceptance and processing of new transport network vehicle service (TNVS) applications that will pass through the National Capital Region.
“Pending review of existing policies and other relevant and pressing issues regarding the issuance of franchise to TNVS, the board hereby orders the suspension of the acceptance of all TNVS applications proposing to ply on the route within Metro Manila or entering Metro Manila,” Delgra said in the order.
The LTFRB, however, clarified that the suspension applies only to new applications.
In a statement, Uber said: “Fewer drivers on Uber lead to lower reliability of service for riders in Metro Manila, who have come to rely on Uber as a viable alternative to buying and driving their own private vehicles.”
It added that it respects the decision but warned that commuters would suffer.
Department of Transportation spokeswoman Cherie Mercado said the suspension was due to the massive increase in new ride-sharing applications, as well as the department’s review of the TNVS fare scheme.
“It’s just the new applications that we have to suspend so we don’t have a huge amount of backlog,” Mercado said, adding that the suspension was indefinite.
As of this month, the total number of TNVS applications has reached 29,151 units, significantly higher compared with just 3,500 units in Oct. 2015.
Of the total number of new TNVS applications, 23,292 were for Uber units, 5,727 for GrabCar units, and 131 for Uhop units.
Mercado said that the suspension also included the TNVS fare scheme, particularly surge pricing.
Conventional taxis have complained over surge pricing, as they are not allowed to apply it.
It was not the first time that app-based transport services were suspended.
Quezon City Regional Trial Court had suspended the operations of Uber, GrabCar, and similar transport services last December, owing to complaints filed by conventional taxi groups over fluctuating fare charges. JAMES KONSTANTIN GALVEZ