Tech

24 Hours Without Uber, and Filipinos Don't Like It

So many people have an opinion, but few people have a ride home.
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On Monday, August 14, transport network company (TNC) Uber Philippines received an order from the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) to "completely stop operations" for one month.

On Tuesday morning, August 15, Uber filed a motion for reconsideration. Uber users briefly rejoiced. However, it was later revealed that the motion had been denied.

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Needless to say, Uber riders were taken by surprise by the suspension. Like everyone else, they thought all would be well since the LTFRB already imposed a P5-million fine on Uber and Uber's fellow TNC, Grab Philippines, last month.

Senator Grace Poe, chair of the Senate Committee on Public Services, said she would call LTFRB officials for an "urgent meeting" after the agency suspended Uber operations. She said, "I am aghast that this agency that committed before the Senate to resolve the issues has just imposed a cure that will only make the disease much worse."

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Meanwhile, Uber riders had no choice but to switch to Grab. In response to Uber's suspension and the ensuing increase in demand for rides, Grab said they were putting a cap on the price surges on their trips.  

Commuters, though, have some complaints against Grab.

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Taxis weren't—pun intended—faring any better.

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Incidentally, amid the Uber suspension backlash, GMA News reports that there is another company waiting to pick up where Uber (temporarily) left off. LTFRB board member and spokesperson Aileen A. Lizada herself confirmed that a new Transport Network Company (TNC) is seeking accreditation from the agency. The new TNC is said to be called "U-Go." 

Just last week, Business Mirror reported that smartphone app Micab also launched in Manila "without approval [sic?] from the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) agency". The taxi-hailing app is partnered with both the Association of Taxi Operators in Metro Manila (Atomm) and Philippine National Taxi Operators Association (PNTOA).

Then again, is another TNC really what we need? Environmental activist Renee Juliene M. Karunungan presented this argument on Facebook:

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Bottom line: The real solution to this problem requires overhauling our flawed public transport system. Unfortunately, many people who have put up with inefficiency for so many years no longer have the ability to see the big picture. The presence of Uber, Grab, and these other TNCs only let some of us pretend (for a price) that things are fine even when they aren't.

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F. Valencia
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