• Uber seeks appropriate rules to govern TNCs

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    Uber said on Tuesday it is only seeking appropriate rules to adhere to in their operations, denying claims that the transport network company does not want to be regulated by the government.

    “One of the misnomers we hear is that Uber does not want to be regulated,” Uber Asia Pacific Head of Public Policy Damian Kassabgi said during a press conference in Makati.

    “To Uber, regulation is important to us because it gives us certainty,” according to Kassabgi, noting that being recognized by government is crucial in operating a business and serving customers.

    However, Kassabgi clarified that Uber’s model is different from that of a taxi network as it operates on an online platform.

    “Ridesharing is different from taxi and needs to be regulated in a different way,” Kassabgi said.
    Uber Philippines General Manager Laurence Cua said that the company does not intend to be a taxi business.

    Earlier, the Land Transportation Franchising Regulatory Board (LTFRB) said that it was considering implementing minimum working hours for transport network vehicle drivers.

    “The problem about putting a minimum is it defeats the beauty of ridesharing, the beauty of technology,” Cua said.

    According to Cua, 60 percent of the active Uber drivers are operating part-time, at less than six hours per day. He also said that five to six percent of their drivers are overseas Filipino workers who are in the country for a while to spend time with their families, and found an income opportunity from Uber which they can do in their chosen hours.

    He said it was also not advisable to limit the number of drivers, which the LTFRB is looking into.

    “I think there is a misconception that demand is stagnant,” Cua said. “Demand is not stagnant. It goes up and down within the week,” he added.

    Cua pointed out that the sanctions received by Uber lowered the number of drivers wanting to work due to fear of being apprehended, which led to a price surge as a result of low supply and increasing demand.

    Last year, there were about 60,000 active drivers. Currently, there are only about 33,000 active drivers, he said.
    “If there is lack of drivers, the system recognizes it and increases the price of booking for other drivers,” Cua said.
    Meanwhile, the LTFRB issued a show cause order on Tuesday, stating that Uber failed to comply with the government’s order for it to stop activating the apps of new drivers.

    Cua explained that Uber has already stopped activating apps since July 18, and is only accepting applications of interested drivers for now.

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