Three new ride-hailing startups to challenge Grab’s ‘monopoly’ in PH

Ride-Hailing companies
Photo: Grab's Facebook page

Three new ride-sharing startups – Go Lag, Owto, and Hype – are set to operate in the Philippines soon to compete with Grab, according to the country’s Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB).

LTFRB Board member Aileen Lizada was quoted in an Inquirer report as saying that the three local ride-sharing companies are already in the process of complying with the necessary accreditation before they can start operating.

This means that while Grab, which recently acquired Uber in Southeast Asia in the biggest deal of its kind, is the lone operator of transport network vehicle service (TNVS) in the Philippines, the monopoly could be short-lived.

“Any competition is good for any industry because it benefits the riding public,” Lizada said in a press conference.

The LTFRB, she added, will be more strict in implementing transportation rules and regulations especially following the Grab-Uber merger.

Lizada said Grab cannot just increase its fare on its own.

Go Lag is a Philippine startup that operates just like Grab. Its website, however, does not provide further details about the company and its backers.

Owto, on the other hand, presents itself as a “fair, safe, and Filipino” transportation network company. The system that it uses is developed by a team of Filipino programmers.

No online information was available for Hype, the third new ride-hailing startup that LTFRB mentioned.

In a separate statement, Grab Philippines head Brian Cu said the company will continue to work and collaborate with the LTFRB, the Department of Transportation, local government units, and other stakeholders to improve Grab’s services.

“I would like to reassure the government and the public that we continue to work in a collaborative and open manner, as we have done in the past. We will retain our commitment towards quality of service and continue to adhere to regulatory guidelines on activations and pricing,” Cu said.

Cu also revealed that not all 20,000 to 24,000 of Uber’s drivers in the Philippines will be transitioning to Grab when the Uber app shuts down on April 8.

The Philippine Competition Commission (PCC) earlier said it can still block the merger of Grab and Uber if the deal is found to be anti-competitive.

PCC Chairman Arsenio Balisacan said the antitrust watchdog is looking at the Grab-Uber deal very closely for possible anti-competitive repurcussions.

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