Senator Juan Edgardo “Sonny” Angara filed Senate Resolution 424 calling for an inquiry, in aid of legislation, on the current state of the country’s mass transport system.
Angara filed the resolution following the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board’s (LTFRB) move restricting the operation of existing transport network vehicle service (TNVS) like Uber and Grab.
Apart from the issues involving Uber and Grab, Angara also wants the Senate to look into the newly launched jeepney modernization program which was met with protests from transport groups, as well as the operation of the rail transit systems in Metro Manila.
The LFTRB recently ordered Grab and Uber to deactivate their more than 50,000 so-called colorum drivers or they would be apprehended starting July 26.
This prompted Sen. Joseph Victor Ejercito, vice chairman of the senate committee on public services, to call for a meeting with LTFRB officials and representatives of Uber and Grab to resolve the issue and avoid causing inconvenience to thousands of commuters who are dependent on TNVS.
After the hearing, Ejercito announced that the LTFRB was willing to temporarily suspend its July 26 order once they receive the motion for reconsideration that would be filed by affected parties.
Angara in his resolution noted that laws and rules must adjust and be interpreted to favor new technologies which make people’s lives easier.
Filipino commuters have expressed their support for Grab and Uber, for providing service, safety, convenience, and courtesy that other transportation services such as public taxis have failed to provide.
“We must look into the state of public transportation first to ensure that it is efficient, dependable, safe and affordable. The public should not be made to suffer in their daily commute,” he added.
On the jeepney modernization program, Angara noted that the LTFRB should allay the fears of the vulnerable members of the public transport sector by ensuring that adequate social protection measures are put in place.
He said that while the modernization program is vital to the traffic management solution of the country, the government must see to it that it would not cost small jeepney operators and drivers their livelihood.
“Mobility has been a key concern of our country. We should fast-track our projects on modernizing our public transport system so that Filipinos will have a viable transportation option,” Angara said.
Many senators have expressed their support to TNVS operation noting that it provides better service that the traditional taxis that have been a subject of complaints from commuters from refusal to convey passengers, rudeness to overcharging.
But Ejercito made it clear that while he has nothing against the operation of TNVS, Grab and Uber must address issues regarding its ride-hailing concept and dynamic pricing.
He said the concept of TNVS is to allow private vehicle owners to share their car with other riders providing them extra income during their free time.
However, some enterprising people have acquired fleets of vehicles and hire drivers to use these as TNVS. There were even reports that some big taxi operators have joined the ride-hailing market.