Youth solon calls for probe on Uber’s ‘illegal’ operation

Kabataan party-list representative Terry Ridon has called for an inquiry into the alleged illegal operation of the mobile app ride-sharing service Uber, which was stopped recently by the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB).

Kabataan party-list representative Teddy Ridon. Photo credit: Kabataan party-list Facebook page

Kabataan party-list representative Teddy Ridon. Photo credit: Kabataan party-list Facebook page

In filing House Resolution 1627, Ridon urged the House Committee on Metro Manila Development to conduct an investigation into reports that Uber may have violated the Public Service Law or the Commonwealth Act 145, which requires public utility vehicles to secure a franchise from the regulatory board before it can operate.

Department of Transportation and Communications (DOTC) secretary Jun Abaya had earlier directed the LTRFB to work with Uber to “modernize” the country’s transport sector. Abaya and LFTRB chair Winston Ginez also met with Uber executives to find resolve the issues hounding Uber’s operations in the country.

“While Uber offers a new level of convenience for the riding public using available technologies, this innovation should also operate within the ambit of the law. Public vehicle franchising is a mechanism of the State to endure that operators of public utility vehicles abide by laws and regulations governing public mass transportation system and ultimately, to ensure the safety of the public availing of franchised services,” Ridon said.

Ridon said Uber has faced legal complaints abroad questioning the legality of its operations. “Taxi operators and other parties in Australia, Canada, Germany, United Kingdom and United States also filed similar complaints,” he said.

The LTFRB stopped the operations of Uber in response to a complaint filed by the Philippine National Taxi Operators Association, which also called Uber fleet operation in Metro Manila as “colorums.”

“Public mass transport is a matter of public interest. Congress must intently work with the Department of Transportation and Communication (DOTC) and other government agencies that has jurisdiction over public mass transportation to resolve perennial and intensifying problems in the public mass transportation with end vision of providing the public with safe, accessible and affordable modes of public transportation,” Ridon said.

Uber launched their operation in Manila last March 2014 and operates in 45 countries and 222 cities around the world.

Ridon said the Uber vehicles are operating in Makati and Pasig. “It is said to be a more attractive mode of transportation for commuters who would want to arrive at their desired destination comfortably,” he said.

Ridon described Uber as a mobile application that can be downloaded into a smartphone that allows passengers to hire private vehicles to pick and drop them off at their desired locations.

“Uber is an application that connects the drivers to riders. It provides convenience to passengers by saving them the trouble of having to queue up, to call a dispatcher, or hail a cab on the street. They can request a ride with a push of a button and track the driver’s location,” Ridon said.

Passengers are required to pay a minimum base pay of P90 and additional P2.10 or P12.92 per kilometer. Passengers who will cancel their booking are obliged to pay P100.00.

“Passengers in Manila have the option to book a Mitsubishi Montero, a Ford Everest or a Toyota Fortuner, depending on vehicle availability at the time of booking,” Ridon said.

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