Grab asks LTFRB to condone P10-M fine

By Aerol John Pateña

July 24, 2018, 2:30 pm

MANILA -- Ridesharing firm Grab Philippines disclosed on Monday that it has filed a formal appeal to the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) to reverse the PHP10-million fine imposed on it as penalty for charging an unsanctioned PHP2 per minute to its customers.

Grab said the per minute rate was in accordance with Department Order 2015-011 of the Department of Transportation (DOTr) which allows transportation network companies (TNCs) to impose their own fare rates subject to the oversight of the LTFRB.

“DO 2015-011 shall be considered valid until it is set aside with finality in an appropriate case by a competent court,” the firm said in its motion for reconsideration which was filed on July 19 and released to the media late Monday.

“As such, when respondent began imposing the assailed PHP2 per minute fare on June 5, 2017 to ensure that its hardworking TNVS (transportation network vehicle services) drivers would still be able to make ends meet despite the worsening traffic conditions, respondent did so in good faith and pursuant to prevailing government issuances at the time,” it added.

The DOTr has issued DO 2018-013 last June authorizing the LTFRB to determine the fare, rates and other charges of TNCs after undergoing public hearings and consultations to ensure that they are just and reasonable.

DO 2017-11 which was issued by the department on June 19, 2017 allows TNCs to have a pre-arranged fare as authorized by the LTFRB.

“Any issuance by this Honorable Board which would ultimately determine the fare that may be charged by TNCs and TNVS should only be applied prospectively and should not prejudice respondent for relying on a valid and subsisting DO 2015-011,” according to Grab.

The company further said that it has informed the Board of its fare structure which includes the per-minute charge.

“Respondent MyTaxi.PH respectfully prays that this Honorable Board reverse and set aside its order dated July 9, and in lieu of, issue a new one dismissing the show-cause order and case for utter lack of merit," the firm further said.

MyTaxi.PH is the registered company of Grab in the country.

The LTFRB said in its order that the fine shall be reimbursed through rebates that will be availed only for 20 days from the time the decision becomes final or when Grab shall start its implementation whichever is earlier.

The amount of the rebate is limited to the portion of the income of Grab which is directly related to the PHP2-per minute charge during the period of its imposition. The per-minute charge was imposed by Grab from June 2, 2017 until Apr. 19, 2018 when it was suspended by the LTFRB.

The Board earlier said there was no mention of any per minute rate when it released its order on the fare structure of TNCs in Dec. 27, 2016, which stipulates that the company should impose a flag down rate of PHP40 with an additional rate of PHP10 to PHP14 per kilometer excluding per-minute travel charges. (PNA)