After LTFRB nod, Uber eyeing other PH cities (Philippines Daily Inquirer)

Uber Philippines lauded the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) for the quick approval on Wednesday of the company’s accreditation under a regulatory framework that made the country the first in Asia to legalize app-based ridesharing services.

We are extremely proud of the result of our work with the government to lay the groundwork to pass regulations for app-based ridesharing services, Laurence Cua, Uber Philippines general manager, said Thursday. We will continue to pave the way in the Philippines with new technology that will help commuting in Metro Manila safe and convenient for the community.

The accreditation will enable Uber to expand and bring safe, reliable and convenient rides to more cities in the Philippines, Cua added.

But with regard to the accreditation of individual Uber partner vehicles, the company said this was still being done in batches. The LTFRB earlier said it would start apprehending unaccredited vehicles starting today.

(The partners’) applications are being submitted on a daily basis to the LTFRB, Karun Arya, Uber communication lead for South Asia and India, said through e-mail. Due to the sheer volume of drivers on our platform, as well as the fact that we received our TNC accreditation just yesterday, we are using a phased approach for our partners’ TNVS application submissions.

TNVS stands for transport network vehicle services, the name given to partner vehicles of app-based TNCs or transportation network companies.

Uber is working with their partner-drivers to finalize their submissions as quickly as possible in close consultation and with the guidance of the LTFRB, Arya said.

The LTFRB held a sting operation against an Uber partner driver in October last year after receiving complaints from taxi operators who, like their counterparts in several countries, cited unfair competition since Uber vehicles lacked a franchise yet were being allowed to operate like cabs.

Despite protests and following consultations and public hearings, the Department of Transportation and Communications (DOTC) created a new transport category-the TNC and TNVS-for app-based services like Uber. The LTFRB later issued memorandum circulars on their regulation.

Uber’s application for accreditation as a TNC was approved Wednesday within 48 hours of submission, Cua noted. We are proud to have worked closely with the LTFRB and the DOTC to make the Philippines the first country in Asia to legalize app-based ridesharing services.