Grab Wants to Add 45,000 More Drivers to Address Supply Shortages in Metro Manila
Before the pandemic, the number of transport network vehicle services plying the roads of Greater Metro Manila (GMM) was at 65,000. Today, that number is only about 20,000.
If Grab had its way, it wants to bring the numbers back to pre-pandemic levels to address supply issues for commuters.
“We estimate that the number of slots required for catering to demand in 2023 for new and existing cities is close to 100,000 TNVS licenses mentioned by the LTFRB in their last statement,” Grab Philippines Senior Director for Operations Ronald Roda said during a press briefing. “For Greater Metro Manila, this simply brings us back to the 65,000 supply cap levels pre-pandemic. Our aspiration is to get GMM supply back to early 2020 supply levels.
“For the provinces, an estimate of 35,000 TNVS licenses takes into consideration forecasts based on population size that can be converted into the Total Addressable Market (TAM), as well as the activity levels of the current driver pool in December 2022,” he added.
GMM includes the provinces of Rizal, Bulacan, Laguna, and Cavite.
Roda also addressed concerns from certain transport groups that demand for ride-hailing services in the country was going down and that the capital would be at risk of oversupply if the LTFRB raised the current cap on TNVS licenses.
“Even at 65,000 available cars in GMM, the fulfillment rate, or the percentage of bookings that are fulfilled, never breached 85 percent pre-pandemic, meaning that there was still passenger demand to be fulfilled by the driver-partners,” Roda said. “An oversupply is highly unlikely.”
Roda noted that outside GMM, the demand for GrabCar has not yet returned to pre-pandemic levels but has shown monthly double-digit growth.
Grab, the dominant ride-hailing service in the Philippines, also shared plans to expand its services to other cities, specifically in Mindanao.
“The fresh allocation of TNVS supply is truly a welcome development,” Roda said. “Grab has initiated discussions with the local governments of Davao, Cagayan de Oro, and Iligan to hopefully launch Grab’s super app services in their cities to enable their constituents to enjoy digital services. Historically, Grab noted strong contributions to the local economies of the cities where it operates, as it creates a domino effect on growth—from driver-partners, merchant-partners and down to the consumers.”
Earlier this year, the LTFRB announced that it would open 4,433 new TNVS slots. In a bid to entice more drivers to join its platform, Grab said it would offer up to P10,000 as signing bonus and legal assistance for those who will successfully earn a transport network vehicle license.