More choices for commuters as LTFRB accredits Grab rivals

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Commuters will soon have more choices in the TNVS sector which would hopefully lead to cheaper and safer rides. File Photo

The Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board has accredited more TNVS companies since Uber’s exit giving commuters more choices for travel.

Previously, the government agency was urged to make their accreditation process faster to prevent Grab Philippines from establishing a monopoly of the ride-hailing service in the country.

Last April 4, Senate President Aquilino “Koko” Pimentel III urged LTFRB to fast-track accreditation of competitors to Grab.

“We need real competition, not potential competition. As long as riders have zero options, they will be vulnerable to overpricing and poor service — and this is where the LTFRB must come in,” Pimentel said.

Since then, LTFRB has heeded his advice, together with the public’s call for more TNVS players in the midst of Grab charging higher rates.

So far, five TNVS companies have been duly accredited by the government agency. Here’s a list:

MiCab

Operated by: Micab Systems Corp.
Accredited on: April 30, Monday
Type: Taxi-hailing service

MiCab is a taxi-hailing service that provides rides in Cebu, Bacolod, Baguio, Iloilo and Metro Manila. According to the company, they will have no price surges since they have more than 10,000 cabs in their system.

OWTO

Operated by: Ipara Technologies and Solutions Inc. 
Accredited on: April 24, Tuesday
Type: Ride-sharing service

OWTO will use private cars like Grab for their services. They boast of a “never-before-seen-in-TNVS-industry security system” that enables accurate investigations whenever a rider would file a complaint.

GoLag

Operated by: GoLag Inc.
Accredited on: April 20, Friday
Type: Ride-sharing service

“GoLag” is short for “Go Laguna,” the province where the TNVS is based. It would also serve Bulacan, Cavite, Rizal and Metro Manila. According to their spokesperson Willie Bercasio, GoLag would charge lower fares than other TNVS companies.

HirNa 

Operated by: Hirna Mobility Solutions Inc. 
Accredited on: April 18, Wednesday
Type: Taxi-hailing service

HirNa is a taxi-hailing service that’s currently available in Davao but they are expanding across the country. They are operated by Avis Philippines, a car rental company.

Hype

Operated by: Hype Transport Systems Inc.
Accredited on: April 18, Wednesday
Type: Ride-sharing service

Similar to Grab, Hype offers a Hype Taxi, Hype Sedan, Hype SUV, Hype AUV and Hype Pool. Riders have the option to book them through text messages free of charge.

Concerns of Grab monopolizing the market 

LTFRB  started to accept applications of new TNVS players on February 5.

When Uber announced that it would stop its operations, concerns of a looming monopoly in the local TNVS sector have been brought up.

Philippine Competition Commission, the authority tasked to oversee and enforce the national competition policy in the market, has expressed their alarm over Grab monopolizing the sector.

A marked Grab car on standby mode. (Philstar/File)

According to them, “PCC recognizes that the exit of Uber in the Philippines will put its rival Grab in virtual monopoly in the ride-sharing market until the new players come into operation.”

“The Freeman” columnist Fidel O. Alabos also noted that Grab monopolizing the sector would lead to “vulnerability” in TNVS manipulation and malpractices.

Grab has been accused of high surge pricing and adding P2 to their fares per minute, which was deemed illegal.