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How Hard Is It To Become A Grab Driver? Drivers’ Group Lists Difficulties in Acquiring Permit to Operate

They also want LTFRB to allow hatchback cars to be driven as TNVS.
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A group of transport network vehicle service (TNVS) drivers and operators has appealed to the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board to consider modifying certain points in the process of acquiring a permit to operate as a TNVS. 

In a press conference on Monday, June 10, the drivers' group said its members were having difficulties complying with specific requirements, which often lead to the dismissal of their Certificate of Public Convenience (CPC). According to LTFRB regulations, TNVS driver-operators are required to have either a CPC or a provisional authority (PA) in order to operate legally.

The drivers issued their appeal on the day leading ride-hailing company Grab started deactivating up to 8,000 of its driver-partners from its platform for failing to show proof that they have either a CPC or PA granted by the LTFRB.

CPC hearing process, bank conformity, etc

The drivers brought up four key concerns related to the process of applying for a CPC. First, the fact that operators can only be represented during CPC hearings by either a spouse, parent or descendant severely limits those who live abroad, operates a TNVS part-time or those who are not based in Metro Manila.

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“Example, if an operator is an OFW, single and has an 80-year-old mother,” the statement said. “With this guideline, the only option for this Operator is to issue a SPA [special power of attorney] to his 80-year-old parent and have her go through the hassle of commuting and attending the hearing.”

The drivers’ group said it wants the LTFRB to revert to the previous process of either the transport network company (TNC) such as Grab or anyone else the driver or operator chooses to represent them on their behalf.

Second, the drivers’ group lamented the new requirement of the bank conformity document, which is issued by banks to allow the cars to be used for public transportation. Many operators cannot comply, primarily because many banks charge exorbitant fees for the document as well as increasing the monthly amortization on their vehicle loans.

“Without the bank conformity, the Operator will have his application dismissed by the board, leading to financial losses to the entrepreneur, leading to less cars servicing the riding public,” the drivers said in the statement.

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Third, the drivers complained about the increase in the proof of financial capability requirement, which used to be set at P15,000 but which the current board allegedly raised 233 percent to P50,000.

“One of the reasons why TNVS operators chose to have this business is to add income to the household,” they said. “Meaning, many have no savings P50,000.”

Lastly, the drivers brought up the “assume balance” issue, which are TNVS operators who have had to continue the payments of previous TNVS operators who gave up and surrendered their cars to the bank. The trouble is that the new TNVS operators are having difficulties complying as CPCs and PAs are non-transferrable.

“Assume balance should not have been an issue if the board only made the process and requirements easy for TNVS operators,” they said.

No hatchbacks

Additionally, the drivers also bemoaned the LTFRB’s policy of disallowing hatchback cars for supposed safety reasons. While these car models were once allowed as TNVS with a transition period of three years, the drivers’ group said the LTFRB has denied applications for PA and CPC for hatchback cars. They brought up the Department of Transportation’s recent approval of a test run for Angkas, a two-wheeled ride-hailing service, as a strong argument for the full reinstatement and accreditation of hatchback cars and the removal of the three-year transition period.

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Meanwhile, Grab has gone ahead and deactivated the “colorum” TNVS on Monday, June 10. The company encouraged those affected by the deactivation to apply anew as it said 10,000 new TNVS slots would be opened. Grab, which is currently celebrating its seventh year of operations in the country, added that it is open to assist the driver-operators not just in the assessment of documents but also in case they would like to explore other options in the platform.

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Paul John Caña
Associate Editor, Esquire Philippines
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