1,500 Grab drivers may lose jobs

CEBU, Philippines — At least 1,500 grab drivers and operators might be displaced if the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) pushes through with its plan to only allow 1,500 Grab, a ride-hailing application, units to operate in Cebu.

Cebu has over 3,000 Grab units.

But only 500 units have provisional authority to operate legally. Other drivers and operators are still waiting for the approval of their franchise applications.

Transport Network Vehicle Service (TNVS) groups in Cebu are appealing to the government to allow all existing ride-hailing platform units to operate.

The groups are worried that their livelihood might get affected if they would become deactivated.

LTFRB Chairman Martin Delgra III said the agency’s order was to limit Grab’s operation to only 1,500 units.

“I’ll check with Grab Philippines how come existing TNVS units in Cebu had reached to 3,000 despite the LTFRB’s order,” he said.

Delgra wants Grab to shed light on the issue.

“Kani man gud mga numero dili man gyud ni cast on stones. Any demand for public transport is not rigid. So gusto nako klaruhon ang Grab,” he said.

“The bottom line here is about the demand and addressing the plight of the riding public,” he added.

He said TNVS does not fully aid the demand for public transport.

“Our priority is a public transport that is accessible almost 24/7 like taxi units. TNVS’ mode of service depends on the discretion of the car owners,” he said.

Even if LTFRB opts to increase the cap for TNVS in Cebu, Delgra said, the TNVS units would still not address the demand.

“Majority of TNVS drivers are part-time. So there would still be less units available for booking,” he said.

Moreover, Delgra thanked TNVS groups in Cebu for not joining yesterday’s transport holiday or strike.

The groups did not heed the call of TNVS groups in Manila to stage a transport holiday to protest LTFRB’s “unreasonable” process in granting or denying franchise applications.

The strike, the first since TNVS drivers were introduced by the Department of Transportation in 2015, was by far the strongest action taken by the sector, which recently lost 5,000 members who failed to get a franchise from the LTFRB.

Delgra also belied the claim that the agency is implementing unreasonable processes in granting franchise applications.

The applicants are required to meet three requirements. First, applicants must be a Filipino citizen; second, their ability to run such business or financial requirement; and lastly, the technical requirements which involves the vehicle unit itself.

Meanwhile, LTFRB-7 Regional Director Eduardo Montealto said all approved transportation units, such as point to point buses, taxis, electronic and modern jeepneys, will be put on display at the South Road Properties in Cebu City on July 11.

These model units are part of the Department of Transportation’s Public Utility Vehicles Modernization program.

Launched by DOTr in 2017, the program aims to make the country’s public transportation system efficient and environmentally-friendly by 2020. (FREEMAN)




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