On August 29, Filipino users of ride-sharing mobile app Uber breathed a sigh of relief, as the company’s services became available once more.
Uber incurred a one-month suspension order from the Land Transportation Franchising & Regulatory Board (LTFRB) for adding new drivers into its system. This was a direct violation of the LTFRB’s order to put further driver applications on hold. To get the ban lifted, the company paid a fine amounting to Php 190 million, calculated based on the LTFRB’s estimates of the company’s daily earnings.
“Imposing the fine on Uber was a painful decision for us pero ginawa lang namin ang trabaho namin (but we just did our job),” explained LTFRB Board Member Aileen Lizada.
The LTFRB also required Uber to give their drivers financial assistance for the duration of the ban. The agency advised all the company’s operators to post a sample of their trip earnings. This was to ensure the company’s compliance with the LTFRB’s requirements.
Will riders be Uber-charged?
With such a huge hit to its overall earnings, many riders expressed fears that the penalty would reflect on Uber’s rates. However, the company told their customers on Twitter to expect “no charges to [their] original price structure” post-suspension
While its patrons have nothing to worry about, the transportation network company (TNC) appears to be facing more hurdles in its future. Chief among these is the growing need for more drivers. Interestingly, this is the same problem that led to the suspension order in the first place.
Uber clarified that while they are still accepting new applications, they cannot continue to process them, while negotiations with the LTFRB are still ongoing. Meanwhile, the ride-sharing service provider has urged the government to rethink and update their accreditation processes. As a representative said at a congressional inquiry: “We cannot impose 1900s regulations on today’s technological innovations.” –MF
Author: Tomas Pedrosa
A graduate of Information Design, a versatile writer, and an avid gamer, Tomas prides himself in his willingness to gain new experiences and perspectives, and to apply what he learns in his other pursuits. Curiosity, interest, and obsession—these are the mile markers that keep him going down his road.