Public pressure

By: Editorial July 21,2017 - 09:40 PM

The decision of the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) to allow drivers contracted to transport network vehicle services (TNVS) like Uber, Grab and U-Hop to continue operating merely illustrated the need to provide efficient public transport systems and facilities not only in Metro Manila but in metropolitan areas like Cebu.

“You should not turn the public against us,” an LTFRB official angrily told representatives of Uber, Grab and U-Hop during a public hearing, and the agency does have a point as far as regulating these services are concerned.

As a transport agency mandated to ensure the sustainability of mass transport in order to protect the riding public, it befalls on LTFRB to monitor companies that service the commuters to include Uber, Grab and U-Hop.

The country’s existing transport laws would likely not have provisions dealing with transport-hailing services since they are a new technology that has also encountered problems in other countries.

And it’s not like Uber, Grab, U-Hop and others are 100 percent free of complaints from those who have availed of their service. In countries like India, there have been stories of passengers who got molested by drivers just like those who experienced abuse at the hands of unscrupulous and malicious taxi drivers.

Due to the better vehicles and the ease and convenience with which they can be hired, Uber, Grab and U-Hop have become popular with commuters tired of selective taxi drivers and antiquated jeepneys, causing operators of these units to complain of being robbed of their customer base.

What the LTFRB is after are colorum drivers who continue to operate without securing individual accreditation from their office which would make them accountable not only to Uber, Grab and other TNVS but also to the government itself and, by extension, the riding public.

The issue here is not just about the comfort, ease and convenience these TNVS offer to commuters; it’s also about the accountability and responsibility to their customers that TNVS providers cannot regulate on their own.

The problem is, the LTFRB had been quite slow in processing the necessary requirements for these drivers in order to allow them to operate. And it isn’t too far-fetched to speculate that like their processing of taxi and jeepney operators, Uber and Grab drivers will also face corruption from LTFRB’s ranks.

Thus, rather than face public indignation, the LTFRB is left with little recourse other than to allow these drivers to continue. We hope this impasse between the LTFRB and these mass transport service networks will be resolved within the month.

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TAGS: cars, Cebu‬, efficient, LTFRB, pressure, public

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