• Uber criticizes rules as taxi operators play catch-up

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    Current transportation rules do not jibe with technological advancements and the government should keep this in mind in attempts to regulate ride-sharing, an Uber official said on Thursday.

    “We cannot impose 1900s regulations, when there were no internet and smartphones,” said Yves Gonzales, Uber Philippines government relations and public policy head, during a Senate hearing on transport network vehicle services (TNVS).

    “Let’s simplify processes. We are not against applying for accreditation. What we are against is inefficient process for TNVS,” Gonzales said.

    Senator Grace Poe, head of the Senate committee on public services, agreed and said the government must come up with updated laws.

    “Technology and market should dictate how the transport sector should evolve,” Poe said, adding that the “lack of [a]legal framework still puts TNVS in limbo in our country.”

    She said it was the government’s fault why ridesharing companies are exploiting loopholes in laws and regulations.

    The Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) has threatened a crackdown against Uber and rivals such as Grab for allowing vehicles to operate without the proper permits.

    The ride-sharing firms, for their part, have pointed to the LTFRB’s failure to act on applications for permits.

    Poe urged regulators to expedite the issuance of certificates of public convenience but also told Uber and Grab to stop activating vehicles without the proper clearances.

    The popularity of Uber and Grab has come at the expense of taxi operators whose representatives told the Senate that they preparing to compete on the technological front.

    “In two months, we will have a taxi-booking app exclusively for taxis,” Philippine National Taxi Operators Association head Bong Suntay said.

    “It took us a long time before we found a partner,” he added, noting that Grab’s taxi-booking service was not exclusive.

    Fares, however, will still be metered and Suntay said they were bound by LTFRB regulations.

    Amid complaints that regulators were biased against ride-sharing services, he said that taxi operators believe the market is big enough to include TNVS. However, there has to be a level playing field for both systems, Suntay added.

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