Taxi Operators Eye Similar Ride-Hailing App As Uber, Grab

A taxi operators group said that it is eyeing the creation a ride-hailing application similar to Uber and Grab to “level the playing field” in providing transportation service to the public.

Philippine National Taxi Operators Association (PNTOA) head Bong Suntay, during a Senate hearing on Wednesday, recognized that taxis and its drivers had its flaws, but stressed that these were due to “limits” to regulations set by the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB).

Taxi operators have repeatedly blamed Uber and Grab for a decline in the number of passengers who hail taxis and for the number of drivers who prefer to work for transport network companies (TNCs).

“We have nothing against Uber and Grab. We have always believed that the market is big enough for all of us to co-exist but co-existence but under a level playing field,” Suntay said.

Suntay acknowledged that while taxi drivers refused passengers, usually during traffic, it was because they did not have the dynamic pricing scheme or surge pricing offered by transport network vehicle services (TNVS).

“What makes them distinct is they could use the application to tell passengers how much they pay. We are limited on using the taxi meter. We basically use the same vehicles. What makes us distinct are regulations,” he added.

Suntay also asked for the conduct an “automatic review” of taxi fare every two years with or without inflation.

Former taxi driver now Grab driver Ronald de Guzman, agreed that the reason why he switched to driving for a TNVS service was because he could not meet the daily boundary required for taxis at PHP1,200 to 1,500.

Grab Country Head Brian Cu said that a Grab driver earns around PHP18,000 a month (or five and a half day) or PHP600-700 daily.

Senator Grace Poe, chair of the Senate Committee on Public Services, welcomed the proposal to create an app for taxis and the request for a review of taxi fare every two years.

“We’re going to craft a law that makes it fair (for both taxis and TNVS). Developing an app wherein taxis can be contracted will allow them to have price competition,” Poe told reporters in an interview.

“We should have an automatic review. The reason why (taxi) drivers refuse passengers, complain, is because of traffic and the meager amount they earn while Grab and Uber are allowed to have price surges. It’s not a level playing field. That’s what we need to consider in crafting legislation,” she added. (Azer N. Parrocha/PNA)

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