SENATOR Grace Poe on Saturday urged the government to integrate ride-sharing services into the public transport system to address the needs of commuters.
“The government must be forward-looking. We should tap available technology,” said Poe, chair of the Senate Committee on Public Services.
She is set to conduct a public hearing on August 3 on the franchise rules on ride-sharing services such as Uber and Grab, and the government crackdown on “colorum” units of transport network vehicle services (TNVS).
Poe noted that the popularity of Uber and Grab should provide an impetus for franchise holders in public transportation to improve their services.
“Our commuters deserve to be given more choices. Many of our commuters now rely on ride-sharing services such as Uber, Grab and U-Hop to travel around the city,” she said.
Poe said the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) should strike a balance between regulating TNVS and ensuring the public’s need for safe, comfortable and reliable transportation “is met.”
The senator said TNV companies provide services that taxi operators “have inadequately provided in the past decade – point-to-point pick-up and delivery standardized fare, safe and comfortable.”
The LTFRB has decided to suspend its earlier decision to impound colorum TNVS plying Metro Manila after Poe set a dialog between between LTFRB officials and TNVS representatives.
Among the measures to be tackled in the public hearing are Senate Bill 340 and 375 authored separately by Poe and Sen. Sherwin Gatchalian seeking to establish a Taxi Passenger Bill of Rights.
In 2015, the LTFRB issued Department Order No. 2015-011 that encourages “innovation across all forms of public land transport in order to increase mobility on major thoroughfares, boost travel times, improve the quality, sustainability and reliability of public transport services, and respond to the needs of the modern commuter.”
However, Poe said this objective has “quite changed when LTFRB later issued Memorandum Circular 2016-008, which directed its technical division and regional offices not to accept any application for TNVS proposing to ply the route within Metro Manila or entering Metro Manila.”