South east Asia is proving to be a tricky market to navigate for ride-hailing transport app companies.
Philippines’ Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) has ordered a halt on GrabCar Philippines’ (MyTaxi.ph Inc) operation of its GrabBike service. The board has said, the service stands to lose accreditation if they fail to comply.
Incidentally, Philippines was also the first country to legalise ride-sharing services in Asia in May last year when it put in place a legal framework for app-based ride sharing services such as Uber and GrabTaxi to operate. The country also went ahead and created a new category of transport known as Transportation Network Vehicle Service (TVNS), covering vehicles for hire on these mobile apps.
LTFRB chairman Winston Ginez said, on Wednesday, there were still no guidelines authorising the use of motorcycles for public transport.
MayTaxi.ph offers GrabBike via an Internet-based technology platform to facilitate a pre-arranged transport for passengers on two-wheelers.
Ginez made it clear that the board will not tolerate any transportation network companies doing what MyTaxi.ph did until proper guidelines are set.
The board has only accredited MyTaxi.ph to offer Transport Network Vehicles (TNVS) using their digital platform technology which does not include motorcycles.
In a letter sent by LTFRB to MyTaxi.ph dated January 21, it directed the latter to cease within five days from offering motorcycle as mode of transport to the public.
The board has likewise demanded an explanation from MyTaxi why it is engaging in a service that the board has yet to authorised. Ginez noted a motorcycle service is not what the board had envisioned for these transport network services.
To understand the Philippine landscape, a senator had filed a bill last July 2014 that seeks to ban motorcycle back-riders, citing more than 3,000 recorded crimes in 2013 involved “riding in tandem” motorcycle riders.
In the same month, the city of Mandaluyong in Metro Manila passed an ordinance banning “riding in tandem” among motorcycle riders. Some mayors in neighboring cities, including Manila itself, are also encouraging their city councilors to do same.