‘Setback to innovation’ – exec
RIDE-HAILING services firm Uber Philippines urged the government on Monday to rethink the suspension of applications for a permit to run and operate ride-hailing services, saying this was a setback to innovation.
On July 21 last year, the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) issued Memorandum Circular 2016-008 directing its technical division and regional offices not to accept any applications for transportation network vehicle services (TNVS), especially those of Uber, GrabCar, and Uhop, due to the rising volume of TNVS applications.
“This suspension creates a sort of pause which slows down our country towards progress,” Laurence Cua, general manager of Uber Philippines, said at a media briefing in Taguig City.
“Almost a year ago, in July 2016, there was a sudden suspension of applications for TNVS. When this happened, three big impacts happened to ride sharing,” he said.
Cua said the suspension hindered riders from accessing safe, reliable, and convenient rides; prevented thousands of Filipinos from a viable income opportunity; and hindered the continued improvement of the traffic congestion and transport system in the metro.
Meanwhile, as Uber’s accreditation expires in August, Cua said the company is working on the requirements for the renewal of its application, which are to be submitted to the LTFRB this month.
Uber understands that there are rules to follow in the government, Cua said, but he also insisted that the Philippines needs to move forward toward innovation and that people are looking for solutions to the country’s transportation problems.
“Uber is a technology platform and one of the things we are able to do is to provide people with opportunity to rethink what it means to own a car. They can just tap and open their Uber app and they can get a car,” he said.
He continued: “That creates a much more productive society as they don’t have to deal with so much traffic. This technology, this ability to get a car with just a tap, translates to more information that we can use to build products like Uber Pool, Uber Hop. We use this technology to combine people who are headed to the same destination. It is efficient, doesn’t require the same vehicle and really helps in traffic congestion.”
The company executive also disclosed that after they launched a carpool service last year, more than 300,000 people have been using it regularly.
“Also, our last data showed that more than 6.6 million kilometers [of trips]had been saved, so that’s more than 311,000 of liters of fuel saved because we’re putting more people in fewer cars,” he added.
“This issue that we’re experiencing today is something we want to get over and to look forward and beyond because ultimately, we have these people, riders and drivers, that use the app to solve transportation problems and to provide for their families,” Cua said.
“Let’s give technology a chance to work wonders,” he said.