Tuesday, July 18, 2017

LTFRB imposes penalties against Grab/Uber because of business concerns, not public safety – Director

No matter how much the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) reasons that they are imposing penalties on Uber and Grab drivers for the sake of public safety, Director Manny Castaneda said that the public can see the bigger picture.

With Grab and Uber being able to provide the convenience and safety to commuters that LTFRB and regular taxis could not, Castaneda emphasized that the Board’s haste to penalize non-issuance of permits was more for business than public concern.

If public safety had always been a priority of the Board, Castaneda argued that they would have ironed out the kinks in the public transport system years ago. Many commuters still admit to feeling unsafe when riding regular taxis and would easily opt for Grab or Uber anytime.

Castaneda called out the LTFRB as one of the most corrupt government agencies and with some taxi drivers having close ties with the Board, it comes as no surprise that an uprising has been raised against these private car operators.

With what they are doing, Castaneda explains that LTFRB is more concerns with protecting taxi drivers than the commuting public.

In his full post on Facebook, Castaneda said,

"The LTFRB has no credibility in any manner whatsoever to say that the sanction they have imposed on Grab and Uber is intended to protect the riding public when in fact they cannot even protect us from the regular taxis where most of dangers that threaten the safety of the passengers lie.

All will agree that our taxis are the worst it the world! The vehicles used are dirty, rundown and uncomfortable. Taxi drivers cheat us. They are discourteous. They are reckless. And most of all, they stink!  There are also thousands of colorum taxis plying the streets of Metro Manila, if  I may add.

And have they solved these problems? The answer is clear… No!

Then comes a new transport system that provides us with a comfortable, reliable and safe alternative. It offered a respite to a lot of travel issues in the metro. True, there has been some snags along the way but nothing compares to the trauma we get everytime we take a regular taxi.  I am sure that those who have had a bad experience with Uber/Grab will still not opt to take the local taxis on a regular basis if they can help it.

So, despite some shortcomings, Uber and Grab continued to proliferate, much to the delight of many public commuters and to the dismay of taxi operators.

Then, out of nowhere, LTFRB pops in . Acting like some sort of a crusader of righteousness, the board becomes vigilant in implementing the law, a distinction they are not  known for since the day I was born. 

Using franchisement as the main issue, they threatened to cramp the operations of Uber/Grab with various sanctions and penalties. Ofcourse, all in the name of fairness, adherence to the rules and public service. Well, that is how they what it to appear.

Ordinary citizens see a much different scenario, a more plausible one. From where we stand, the crux of the matter stems from a simple case of business competition between the taxi operator and Uber/Grab.  Regular taxis have been losing much of its passengers to the competitor and not just regular passengers but the much better ones too.  Instead of applying the regular strategy of improving product and services in order to lure back the lost share of the market, taxi operators opted to use an easier and dirtier way to solve their problems  … destroy the competitor.  And to do it with the help of an ally … the LTFRB. 

It is a known fact that LTFRB is one of the most corrupt government agencies in Philippines. Plus,  it is also common knowledge that some taxi operators are with the LTFRB or “friendly” with the said agency. The existence of these factors make it easier to assume that strong influence and corruption were at play for the LTFRB to act in favor of  the taxi operators. In short, LTFRB has succumbed to the pressure of the taxi operators.

It is a lot of B.S. on the part of the LTFRB when they say that they are protecting the public. They may protect other sectors in the transport industry, in this case, the taxi operators and certainly not the public. Now, the more intriguing question that goes around is, “how much?”.

Source: Facebook / Manny Castaneda

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