Uber to launch ridesharing service in Pampanga in 1st half of 2018
Uber Philippines is starting its ridesharing service in Pampanga province within the first semester of 2018 as the transport regulator is set to lift a moratorium on the processing of new drivers.
The announcement was made by Cat Avelino, Uber Philippines head of communications, on Friday as the company celebrated its fourth year of operations in the country.
The company, the local unit of San Francisco, United States-based Uber Technologies, currently operates in Metro Manila and Cebu, where it competes with main rival Grab.
Yves Gonzalez, Uber Philippines head of government relations and public policy, said there was growing demand in Pampanga, especially around the Clark Freeport Zone.
The Duterte administration has emphasized the development of Clark, which it sees as a solution to Metro Manila’s congestion woes. The Department of Transportation is currently expanding the Clark International Airport. It is also targeting to build a railway line linking Clark to Manila by 2022.
The Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) earlier announced that the processing of driver applications would start on March 5. The moratorium was ordered since the LTFRB wanted a closer look at the ridesharing industry. It had been in place since July 2016.
Under LTFRB Memorandum Circular No. 2018-005, the supply of transport network vehicle services (TNVS) was capped at 65,000 for Metro Manila. Metro Cebu would get 1,500 cars while Pampanga was allowed 250 cars.
LTFRB board member Aileen Lizada, who was present during the anniversary celebration, said the 65,000 cap in Metro Manila was enough to serve about 75 percent of the demand. She said there were currently around 59,000 ridesharing vehicles in the capital district serving around 52 percent of available demand.
The cap would be reviewed every three months, Lizada noted.
“We want to see the churn rate, we want to see the blacklisting of drivers,” Lizada said when asked about factors the LTFRB would review. For riders booking either Grab or Uber, the optimal waiting time should be two to three minutes instead of the current 10 to 15 minutes, she said.
This will also be considered in the LTFRB’s regular review, she said. Uber Philippines said it serves around 1.6 million active riders and 32,000 drivers