Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Lawmakers seek to regulate ride-sharing services

MANILA - Several lawmakers on Wednesday filed separate bills seeking to standardize the operation of ride-sharing companies targeted in a looming crackdown by transportation officials.

Sen. Grace Poe, Davao City Rep. Karlo Nograles and his brother, Puwersa ng Bayaning Atleta (PBA) Party-list Rep. Jericho Nograles, proposed separate measures aimed at fixing the licensing and fare calculation systems of transport network companies (TNCs), whose unregistered units are under threat of being barred from plying thoroughfares. 

The government has said it would apprehend starting July 26 some 50,000 drivers from TNCs Grab and Uber who have no operating licenses.  

Applications for new permits have been suspended since last year, and regulators accused the two firms of taking in new drivers despite a moratorium.

In Senate Bill No. 1501, Poe, chair of the Senate committee on public services, proposed requirements for the accreditation of ride-sharing vehicles, guidelines for their operations, and possible penalties.

The Nograles brothers also made similar proposals under House Bill No. 6009.

Under both bills, TNCs will be required to secure operating permits from the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB).

The proposed law will also task TNCs to:

    to create an application process and maintain a database for drivers;
    implement a zero tolerance policy for drug and alcohol use;
    establish regulations for vehicle safety and;
    disclose the fare calculation method

"Prudent regulation is necessary for government to ensure the highest degree of service for the general public," Poe said. 

"The concept of Uber and Grab is new to us so, therefore, new regulations must be set to ensure that they are properly managed," said Jericho Nograles. 

The Philippines was the first country in the world to regulate ride-sharing services. Uber and Grab are especially popular in Metro Manila, where traffic jams, faulty trains and selective or overcharging taxi drivers are a constant source of misery for commuters.

Poe earlier said her committee would investigate the row between regulators and ride-sharing companies.