LTFRB accredits ridesharing firm Hype to rival Grab
Three days after Uber’s exit from the country’s ride-hailing industry, the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) accredited on Wednesday Hype Transport Systems Inc., a Filipino-owned transport network company (TNC) expected to rival the operations of Grab at a time when passenger complaints against it continue to mount.
With the LTFRB’s accreditation of Hype, app-based drivers as well as commuters now have an alternative to Grab, eliminating its “virtual monopoly” of the industry, which was feared by some quarters following its acquisition last month of the Southeast Asian operations of Uber, its former rival.
LTFRB Chairman Martin Delgra III noted though that it would now be up to Hype and the other TNCs that would later be accredited how they would market themselves so that drivers and commuters would migrate to their platforms.
Currently, the LTFRB implements a common supply base for app-based drivers. Unlike before, a driver can now drive for any of the existing accredited TNCs since the provisional authority or franchise to operate given to them is generic and does not bare the name of any of the TNCs.
However, LTFRB board member Aileen Lizada said that the drivers would still need to have themselves accredited by the TNC of their choice for accountability.
To date, four more TNCs are awaiting to be accredited by the LTFRB. These are Hirna, Go Lag, Micab and Owto.
Delgra said that the LTFRB would accredit the other applicants once they had complied with the requirements. For one, he said that these TNCs must show proof that they could accept responsibility and respond to passenger complaints.
Hype’s entry comes at a time when Grab continues to be criticized for its high fare and its picky drivers.
Brian Cu, country head of Grab Philippines, assured the public on Wednesday that, apart from the passenger complaints mechanisms already in place, his company’s system could also detect and determine if a driver was deliberately forcing a rider to cancel a requested trip.
Cu said that once verified that a driver forced a passenger to cancel a booking that driver would be called to the Grab office for investigation. The drive could then be suspended or even removed from the platform. /atm
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