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Transport advocate criticizes Grab PH’s “overcharging” hearing’s delay

An advocate for public transportation slammed the hearing’s delay on the alleged overcharging practice of Grab Philippines’ transport network vehicle service (TNVS) operator on Friday.

The hearing’s rescheduling from Dec. 13 to Jan. 10 will cause more passengers to experience the alleged overcharging, according to attorney Ariel Inton, president of the Lawyers for Commuters Safety and Protection, who made this claim in a Laging Handa briefing.

“Iyong damo, anhin mo pa kasi wala na ang kabayo? Eh, the national priority is to achieve distance, given that it is currently the Christmas season and there is no longer a horse. The Christmas season is when we receive a lot of complaints, therefore we need to decide,” Inton said.

On December 13, Grab submitted a move to adjourn the hearing because their representatives may have been exposed to Covid-19.

On December 6, the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) issued a show cause order to Grab in response to charges that it had violated the minimum flag-down rate by charging PHP85 for short journeys or travels under four kilometers.

As of September, the base fares for cabs and sedans are PHP45, those for Asian or sports utility vehicles are PHP55, and those for hatchbacks are PHP35.

The following kilometers won’t grow in length.

Iyon mataas (PHP85). It’s excessive. (That’s too much.) Hindi iyan nakapaloob doon sa fare matrix kaya shinow cause sila. They were given a show cause order because that isn’t what the fare matrix specifies),” he added.

Inton claimed that a Grab attorney emphasized that the PHP85 minimum charge was intended to prevent short trips, but EJ dela Vega, the country head for mobility at Grab, insisted that they adhere to regulations.

Inton claimed that only one ride out of 10,000 involves such brief distances.

“Discourage me, Iyong consistent iyong presentation nila na isa lang sa bawit sampung libong pasahero. With all due respect to the lawyers there, they did not present themselves consistently because they were discouraging one out of every 10,000 travelers. Sa tingin namin, hindi iyon. With all due respect to their attorneys, we believe it to be untrue,” he stated.

Additionally, he said that Grab was using “surge pricing,” which involves doubling both the per-minute and per-kilometer fees.

It is permitted by the LTFRB, but the question is, “When should you implement or charge customers with fare surge?” he stated.

He claimed that surge pricing is consistently used since there are no guidelines or regulations.

He added, “And that is the reason why we wrote to the LTFRB that there should be parameters. Sinulatan namin ang LTFRB dito na dapat may parameters.”

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