GrabBike suspends services in Philippines, refutes authorities claim its operations are ‘illegal’

Visual from Grab Philippines' Facebook page.

Grab Philippines (Grab) said Thursday it has stopped operations of its motorcycle ride-sharing services called GrabBike in the Philippines, after the country’s Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) directed it  to stop offering motorcycles as public utility vehicles.

GrabBike runs similar to Grab’s car-booking app GrabCar, that sends a private vehicle by a passenger’s request using its free app.

The company, that rebranded to just ‘Grab’ last month, is Southeast Asia’s leading ride-hailing platform and offers a wide range of services through one mobile app.

“Wherefore, in view of the foregoing, the board hereby orders Grab Bike, Inc. to IMMEDIATELY CEASE AND DESIST upon receipt hereof from offering to the public the use of motorcycle or any similar vehicle until further orders,” the order said.

LTFRB indicated “the creation and use of motorcycles contravene the provisions of the Public Service Law and Department Order No. 2015-011”, citing the Department of Transportation and Communications (DOTC) has not yet promulgated guidelines relative to the new service.

The transport board took notice of a recent advertisement of GrabBike posted on the Facebook page of GrabTaxi (now Grab), and the ad was offering the use of a motorcycle as a mode of transporting passengers to connect passengers with drivers using the latter’s vehicles.

Also Read: Philippines: GrabCar’s bike service hits a speed breaker as Transport Board halts ops

LTFRB then sent a letter last January 26 to MyTaxi.ph Inc directing them to cease and desist from offering the service or else lose its accreditation.

MyTaxi.ph replied last February 1 arguing that it has “not acted in any other manner that provides ground to cancel its accreditation.” It added GrabBike is a seperate entity and informed LTFRB that the company which is operating GrabBike services is Grab Bike Inc.

However, on February 3, the Committee on Transportation of the House of Representatives conducted a congressional meeting which included bike services, and during the proceedings, Nina Teng, regional vice president of Grab, is leant to have admitted that GrabBike was operating without any authority and vowed to accede to any directive that may be issued for or against bike services.

“The Board has not yet accredited any Transportation Network Commpany (TNC) to offer motorcycle services through its digital platform technology,” LTFRB said in its statement.

“More importantly and aside from safety issues, the DOTC has not yet issued any policy regulation awarding the use of motorcycles to be offered as a mode of public transportation. DOTC Department Order No. 2015-011 does not authorize any TNC to offer the use of a motorcyle as a transportation network vehicle,” it added.

Also Read: Philippines becomes first country to legalise ridesharing services; SG passes Bill to regulate third-party taxi apps

Meanwhile, Grab informed the public on its Facebook and Twitter accounts that they are temporarily stopping operations of GrabBike effective February 4.

“We stand firmly on our belief that we have created an innovative solution to the country’s transportation problem and we are working towards finding a way to continue providing it to the community,” Grab said in its post.

“We’re hopeful that the authorities will reach a positive decision regarding the possible regulations to the service. We’ve done this before with the support of our loyal Grabbers and we hope to be able to do it again with GrabBike,” Grab added.

The Malaysia-based ride-hailing platform was previously known as GrabTaxi.

It was founded by Anthony Tan and Tan Hooi Ling in 2012 as a taxi-booking mobile app.

Besides GrabCar and GrabBike, the company has also been offering social carpooling (GrabHitch) and last mile delivery or courier service (GrabExpress).

Also Read:

Malaysia’s GrabTaxi kicks off courier biz in Philippines

GrabTaxi invests $6m in safety features, to be rolled out regionally

Singapore Reporter/s

In Singapore, we are looking to double our reporting team by this year-end to comprehensively cover the fast-moving world of funded startups and VC, PE & M&A deals. We want reporters who can tell our readers what is really happening in these sectors and why it matters to markets, companies and consumers. The ability to write precisely and urgently is crucial for these roles. Ideal candidates must have to ability to work in a collaborative, dynamic, and fast-changing environment. We want our new hires to be digitally savvy and ready to experiment with new forms of storytelling. Most importantly, we are looking for hard-hitting reporters who work well in a team. Collaboration and collegiality are a must.

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).   

  • A reporter to track companies/startups that have raised private capital, and have the potential to become unicorns. SEA currently has over 40 companies with a valuation of over $100 million and under $1 billion.
  • A reporter who can get behind the scenes and reveal how funding rounds are put together, or why they’ve failed to materialise. She/he in this role will largely focus on long-format stories. 
  • A journalist to track special situations funds, distressed debt and private credit (from the PE angle) across Asia.

Singapore Reporter/s

In Singapore, we are looking to double our reporting team by this year-end to comprehensively cover the fast-moving world of funded startups and VC, PE & M&A deals. We want reporters who can tell our readers what is really happening in these sectors and why it matters to markets, companies and consumers. The ability to write precisely and urgently is crucial for these roles. Ideal candidates must have to ability to work in a collaborative, dynamic, and fast-changing environment. We want our new hires to be digitally savvy and ready to experiment with new forms of storytelling. Most importantly, we are looking for hard-hitting reporters who work well in a team. Collaboration and collegiality are a must.

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).   

  • A reporter to track companies/startups that have raised private capital, and have the potential to become unicorns. SEA currently has over 40 companies with a valuation of over $100 million and under $1 billion.
  • A reporter who can get behind the scenes and reveal how funding rounds are put together, or why they’ve failed to materialise. She/he in this role will largely focus on long-format stories. 
  • A journalist to track special situations funds, distressed debt and private credit (from the PE angle) across Asia.