Friday, August 14, 2015

Public Opinions on Uber Versus LTFRB and DOTC

Wazzup Pilipinas!

Below are just some of the selected statements made by the public about the situation revolving around the legitimacy of UBER-type of services that have become so popular in the Philippines. Many are crying out loud why the government is trying to get rid of the new and innovative way of hailing public transport, while some understand why enforcing very strict guidelines is part of the standard regulations implemented for obedience of the law and security of the riding public. But still many are caught in-between since both parties do have certain agreeable and disagreeable points that we could all ponder.

I still believe this confusion and thoughts of conspiracy is all because of the failure for information dissemination and how some media release has tried to exaggerate the issue into just one perspective. I would have wanted to post everything said here but that will be too lengthy so I selected only a few which seems to say everything in balance.

"And now the truth comes out. No wonder the LTFRB and DOTC are so unreasonably hard on Uber. They are starting their own service called premium taxi, which is just another racket and another inept way of reinventing the wheel! What the hell?? This is appalling!!! And the only ones allowed to operate will be those who buy 20 brand new 2.0-litre cars at a time. Way to go, guys. Way to go...
P.S. No need to ask permission to share. We need all the help we can get because this needs national (if not international) attention." - James Deakin

"Isn't this the consultation for TNVs? It doesn't say that the government is engaging in this business, even so, I do not think the government can engage in business ventures when it is not in their mandate. I think you are all exaggerating." - Norman Culateros

"No, they may not directly engage in the business, but look at the requirements. Only someone with money can get into the business. Which means they have their hands in the pockets of operators. Also local poor Juan can no longer drive for Uber or GrabSedan kasi they can't afford the 20 car fleet and franchising fee. Sino talo dito? Consumer saka poor Juan." - Ethan Mallari

To be a Premium Taxi (TNV) driver/partner you need to be a part of a TNV (Uber, GrabTaxi, EasyTaxi, etc) Because you need to use their app to do it. Unless you develop your own app, that's the only time you can engage in this business. So a regular Juan can still drive, but with the assumption that they have to be part of Uber, GrabTaxi, etc. This call is not for individual drivers but for operators. Just like in any mode of transportation, you would need an operator, a franchise and of course the vehicle. So all your fears are uncalled for and maybe you should've asked first before you reacted violently." - Norman Cualteros

"They want to regulate the business to favour their own operators and drive legitimate, consumer friendly (and loved) services out so that they create a monopoly. No exaggeration here, bro. In fact, I'm surprised at how calm everyone is." - James Deakin

"What is hugely missing in the understanding of people here is that the 'Premium Taxi' is NOT taking the place of Uber. Uber can co-exist with premium taxis, because they are in a TOTALLY DIFFERENT transport category. They are considered TVNS, which have their own set of requirements. These requirements however, have not been met by Uber, hence the crackdown. IMHO, all Uber has to do is get accreditation.

Unforunately, that's not as easy as it seems, and the partners have even come out with an open letter as to why they haven't applied for anything ( But even from the comforts of my own chair, I have seen the IRRs. Am sure it will be a LOT different in practice, but surely those who are in the business can do a LOT better than me in finding out the real score if they REALLY had the intention of following the law. "Kung gusto, may paraan, kung ayaw, may dahilan"."- Bruno Yonzon
"I am concerned with this media blitz, it is misinforming people of merely perceived evil plot to get rid of Uber, when in the end of the day, it's all about compliance. Just because you are one heck of driver, does not excuse a person from getting a license, regulation is there for a reason, and that's for the public who use the roads."- JP Espinosa
"I'm an Uber fan, and am incensed at the way the LTFRB is putting heat on this wonderful service, but I am trying to keep an open mind about the situation. First and foremost, when the four new transport categories were announced by DOTC back in May, the one recognizing Uber and other similar services under the category TNVS, this "premium taxi" was already also mentioned and identified. So personally, I don't see what the big fuss is about.

IMHO, I think the creation of the "premium taxi" service is a way for regular taxis to improve their game and compete fairly with TNVS. If we were to look at things positively (i know, that's a difficult thing to do when it comes to government actions. LOL), this gives a chance to the existing taxi operators to implement several things we like about Uber into the typical taxi experience: online/app hailing, credit/debit card payment, GPS tracking and driver/passenger identification. This is a GOOD THING. After all, isn't this what we Uber users always say to taxi operators/organizations when they complain about our beloved ride sharing app as being 'unfair': "instead of complaining, IMPROVE yourselves and be competitive!"?

Several things are bothering me though. First is why Uber has not complied with the guidelines, when they themselves participated in coming up with the resolution. Secondly, and THIS is the thing that bothers almost everyone, why does LTFRB have to get a "cut" off of everything? The setting of new guidelines and categories is nice and all, but we all know that these new procedures of registering and stuff come with fees, fees which we don't have the slightest idea when it comes to AMOUNT and PURPOSE.

As I had suspected, it IS indeed another case of "no clear set rules/guidelines" on the part of the government (reminds me of that crazy time when there was the issue of plate covers being banned). And as with almost all government transactions, these are the gaping holes that give way to "fixing" and "lagay". Like I always tell friends, it's not as if we regular citizens don't want to comply with government set requirements, it's just that they make it SO difficult to understand the rules by being so vague about it. This lack of information (or ever-changing set of requirements in most cases), is what usually causes people to fail and pay a fine (or fixer) in the end when transacting with government entities.

I'm still hoping this can be resolved soon, because I wouldn't want to lose Uber. That app is heaven sent for someone like me.

Even though I am a HUGE fan of Uber, I prefer to reserve judgement on LTFRB. I am not in the inside, so people can take my views with a grain of salt, but from what I can research from the comforts of my own chair, I already have a clear picture of what the requirements are in order to comply. I'm sure those who are actually in the business can even do better, especially if they were REALLY intent on following the law. Of course, what's on paper is always a lot different on practice, especially when it comes to dealing with government." - Bruno Yonzon

"Anyone familiar with the Bluebird Group of Indonesia knows there are different classes of transport service. The LTFRB did nothing wrong by introducing this higher level of transport servce franchise business which will allow the riding public to choose the kind of service they want at a higher price point. It is mandated by law that all public transport be regulated by LTFRB. Uber is not in compliance with that law. There is nothing sinister about this move by LTFRB. We have laws and public outcries are irrelevant. Instead, better to lobby with a senator or congressman to amend such laws. Government should be of laws rather than of men." - Lawrence See

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