Camarines Sur Representative LRay Villafuerte on Monday chided the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) for its decision to restrict the number of Transport Network Companies (TNC) vehicles to a mere 45,000 cars.
“Reports show that there are about 100,000 TNVs (Transport Network Vehicles) currently providing ride-hailing services to the public and at certain times of the day, we still find it hard to get a ride. Reducing the number to 45,000 would lead to a severe shortage of TNVs making it even more difficult for commuters to get a ride,” Villafuerte said.
In particular, the Bicol lawmaker wants to know the justification behind the figure, which he said was plucked out of thin air by the regulatory agency.
“Can the LTFRB elaborate on how it had come up with its number? There appears to be no rhyme or reason in the way the LTFRB reached this figure considering that it has not even conducted an exhaustive study about the supply and demand requirements of the ride-sharing services offered by transport network companies (TNCs) Uber and Grab,” Villafuerte said.
The LTFRB plan apparently involves cutting down the TNC car fleet to 45,000 vehicles.
A common pool of both Grab and Uber vehicles would then be set up and, as the need arises, the LTFRB will allow more vehicles to ply Metro Manila’s roads by drawing from that pool.
The congressman said the 45,000-limit was obviously too small given the high demand for TNVs by commuters. He said riders prefer Grab and Uber over taxis anyway, given the better overall riding experience.
“We can’t understand why the LTFRB is giving TNVs and TNCs a hard time. It has focused solely on over-regulating this kind of service to the detriment of the riding public while ignoring the obvious shortcomings and deficiencies of other modes of public transport, such as taxis and buses,” said Villafuerte, a former three-term congressman.
“The LTFRB treats TNVS and TNCs as common carriers like taxicabs and passenger buses when the nature of the service they provide clearly show that they are not. This is probably the reason it is having a hard time coming up with the guidelines,” he said.
Villafuerte said the best course of action regarding the TNCs would be to transfer their control over from the LTFRB to the Department of Transportation (DOTr).
He noted that this move would make the government more responsive to the needs of the riding public.