The Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) has ordered ride-sharing firm Grab Philippines to pay P10 million as penalty for imposing a P2-per-minute travel charge to its riders.
The LTFRB said Grab should reimburse the charge through rebates for future ride bookings of its passengers.
?The rebate will only apply to Grab riders who were charged the time rate of P2-per-minute without authority from the Board. The rebate will be availed of only for 20 days from the time the decision becomes final or when the respondent shall commence the implementation of the rebate whichever is earlier,? the LTFRB said in its order dated July 9 released to the media Tuesday, July 10.
?The amount of the rebate shall be limited to the portion of the income of the respondent only, directly related to or arising from P2-per-minute during the period of its unauthorized imposition,? it added.
The per-minute charge was imposed by Grab from June 2, 2017 until April 19, 2018 when it was suspended by the LTFRB.
Grab previously said the per-minute charge is in accordance with Department Order 2015-11 of the then Department of Transportation and Communications (DOTC), which authorized transportation network companies to set their own fares subject to the oversight of the LTFRB.
?Respondent failed to impress the Board that its imposition of the per-minute travel rate is within the purview of its discretion or authority. On the contrary, it was clearly shown that such imposition of respondent TNC (transportation network company) is invalid and without authority from the Board, for which the respondent is to suffer its consequences,? according to the LTFRB.
The agency has previously said there was no mention of any travel time rate, which Grab has been collecting, when it released its order on the fare structure of transportation network companies (TNCs) in Dec. 27, 2016.
The December 2016 order stipulates that Grab should impose a flagdown rate of P40 with an additional rate of P10 to P14 per kilometer excluding per-minute travel charges.
Grab can still file a motion for reconsideration within 15 days upon release of the order and may elevate the case to the Department of Transportation if the MR is denied.
Grab has declined to comment on the matter pending further study by its legal team.
?Grab will reserve comment for now until we have fully studied and analyzed the matter with our legal team. We will reach out in due time,? Grab public affairs head Leo Gonzales told reporters.
Last April, Puwersa ng Bayaning Atleta (PBA) partylist Rep. Jericho Nograles accused Grab of illegally charging P2-per-minute for their rides, on top of its flagdown rate of P40 and charging P10 to P14 per kilometer.
He said Grab should refund around P1.8 billion to its customers because of the alleged overcharging. — Aerol John Pate?a (PNA)