DOTr issues new order granting LTFRB power to regulate fares of TNCs

The Department of Transportation (DOTr) has released an new order that will grant authority to the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) to regulate the operations of transportation network companies (TNCs) and transportation network vehicle services (TNVS) units nationwide.

DOTr secretary Arthur Tugade

The new Department Order, signed by DOTr secretary Arthur Tugade on Monday, June 11, will allow 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.

This will ensure that the TNCs and TNVS will comply with policies, laws, and regulations as the DOTr recognizes their role in providing transport services to the public.

The new order will supersede Department Order No. 2015-011 which allowed TNCs to set their own fares and rates.

The 2015 order has been cited by ridesharing company Grab as legal basis for imposing rates such as a P2-per-minute travel charge and the P80 to P125 minimum base fares.

“This is new and many countries are still trying to grasp on how to handle this transport service. But, since it is convenient and efficient, and our people need them, it is proper that we let them operate,” Tugade said in a statement.

“If you engage in public transport, you have responsibilities. It is important to have regulations so we can monitor and ensure that nobody will be disadvantaged. Do you want that you are legally operating but others are not? Of course we want to ensure a level playing field and equal competition,” he added.

For his part, DOTr undersecretary for road transport and infrastructure Tim Orbos said the order will uphold the safety and protection of the riding public.

“With an operations imbued with public interest, state regulation is necessary in order to ensure that the interests of all parties, most especially the riding public, are protected,” Orbos said.

The LTFRB is in charge of issuing franchises, setting of routes, setting of operating conditions, and imposing fines, suspensions, and cancellations when necessary for all public utility vehicles.

Meanwhile, Grab said it will comply with the order of the DOTr and assures the riding public that it is committed to provide safer and reliable transportation services.

“We have yet to receive a copy of the Department Order but rest assured Grab will comply, as always, to follow the orders set forth by the DOTr. We also recognize and reiterate our deference to the authority of the LTFRB and we will continue to abide by the regulations issued by the Board,” it said in a statement.

“Grab will continue to support the DOTr and the LTFRB in their mandate to ensure the safety and protection of commuters,” it added. — Aerol John Pateña (PNA)

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