Uber cites PH as first in the world to issue rules for transport apps

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US-based ridesharing app Uber has hailed the Philippine government, particularly the Department of Transportation and Communications (DOTC), for coming up with the world?s first regulatory framework for app-based transport services in an effort to modernize transportation services in the country.

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In a blog post titled ?Arriving Now: Progressive Ridesharing Regulations in the Philippines,? that was first picked up by online news website InterAksyon.com, Uber said May 10 (May 11 in Manila) will be marked as ?a historic day not only for the Philippines but for the entire Asia Pacific region.?

This after DOTC secretary Joseph ?Jun? Abaya ?enacted a new department order on ?Promoting Mobility,? which aims to modernize and improve transport services to the commuting public by recognizing new forms of transport solutions that can have a significant impact on reducing congestion while creating thousands of new opportunities for drivers,? Uber noted.

David Plouffe, senior vice president of policy and strategy at Uber said, ?Today, the Philippines has officially become the first country to create a national dedicated framework for ridesharing. This first-of-its-kind order is a shining example of how collaboration between government and industry can advance urban mobility, create new economic opportunity and put rider safety first.?

It can be recalled in 2014, the Land Transport Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) conducted a sting operation against Uber that led to the impounding an Uber vehicle. But online criticisms prompted Abaya to step in and ordered LTFRB, an agency under the DOTC, to collaborate with the vehicle-hailing app.

In the new regulation, Uber noted that ridesharing has ?officially been recognized as a vital part of the Philippine government?s long-term solution for delivering safe, efficient and reliable transport options to the people of Metro Manila and beyond.?

?The regulation represents a groundbreaking approach that brings the benefits of smart technologies to all commuters and the transportation industry in the Philippines,? the company said.

Under the new order, the Transportation Network Vehicle Service (TNVS) classification will allow app-based services offered by Transportation Network Companies (TNC) to exist within the country?s regulatory framework.

Under the new classification, a TNC is defined as an organization that provides pre-arranged transportation services for compensation using an Internet-based technology application or a digital platform technology to connect passengers with drivers using their personal vehicles.

TNCs will provide the public with online-enabled transportation services known as a TNVS, which will connect drivers with ride-seekers through an app.

The DOTC is also imposing certain standards for vehicle eligibility, such as the requirement of global positioning system (GPS) tracking and navigation devices for convenient and safer services.

Only sedans, Asian Utility Vehicles (AUV), Sports Utility Vehicles (SUV), vans, or other similar vehicles will be allowed. A maximum age limit of seven (7) years will be enforced.

Operators will be required to obtain a Certificate of Public Convenience (CPC) for every vehicle to ensure accountability. To promote passenger safety, drivers must be screened and accredited by the TNCs and registered with the LTFRB.

?Many people appreciate the safe and convenient services offered by the TNVS category. We want this to motivate other public utility vehicle operators to modernize, upgrade, and innovate their services for the benefit of the public,? Abaya remarked.

A new classification is also being created for Premium Taxis, which compared to regular taxis, will have the advantage of being equipped with GPS, of having online and smartphone booking capability, a 7-year age limit, and cashless transactions through credit or debit card payments.

Uber cited Abaya and LTFRB chair Winston Ginez for showing ?great vision in recognizing that innovative technologies have a key role to play in upgrading transport services.?

?In adopting this new approach, they have sent a clear message that embracing innovation, supporting consumer choice and ensuring the safety of riders should be a top priority for governments in every market,? it said.

For his part, Abaya said app-based transport services could help address the increasing demand for mobility spurred by rapid urbanization.

?We view technological innovation as a driver for progress, especially in transportation where it can provide safer and more convenient commuting options to the public,? Abaya said.

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