Uber back on the road after paying P190-M fine

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By Patrizia Paola C. Marcelo

THE LAND Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) on Tuesday, Aug. 29, lifted its suspension of the operations of Uber Philippines (Uber Systems, Inc.) after the ride-sharing company paid a fine of P190 million and showed proof of compensation worth P299.24 million to affected drivers/operators.

Driver operators outside the Uber main office in Mandaluyong City — REUTERS/DONDI TAWATAO

The LTFRB in an order dated Aug. 25 said Uber must pay a fine of P190 million and ensure financial assistance to its drivers/operators in order for the agency to lift its month-long suspension. This was in response to a manifestation filed by Uber offering to pay a P10-million fine in lieu of the month-long suspension ordered by LTFRB on Aug. 14

COMPENSATION
The regulator in its order also directed Uber to pay its transport network vehicle service (TNVS) operators until the day of resumption of operations. Uber previously said it had already spent around P100 million for the compensation of its over 36,000 active operators/drivers.

LTFRB ordered the suspension of Uber operations due to what the agency said was the company’s violation of its July 26 order directing transport network companies (TNCs) to stop accepting and activating accreditation applications.

Representatives of Uber submitted to LTFRB yesterday a check with an amount of P190 million, as well as a bank transaction certification by Wells Fargo showing financial assistance payments made to TNVS operators from Aug. 15 until yesterday.

LTFRB said the lifting of the suspension of Uber is “subject to further verification of actual receipt by TNVS peer-operators of the amount due to each of them.”

Uber released a statement following the announcement of the lifting of the suspension: “We have complied with the requirements outlined by the LTFRB, and are grateful for the opportunity to serve the Philippines again.”

The company also said operations have resumed as of 5:00 p.m. yesterday.

‘INABILITY’ OF LTFRB
Senator Grace Poe, chair of the Senate Committee on Public Services, said that she will complete a report on the bill on TNVS.

“For the sake of the commuters, I am committed to complete as soon as possible the report on the TNVS bill that is currently undergoing TWG (technical working group) meetings. The TWG meetings aim to thresh out and address all related issues concerning the operation of Uber, Grab and the like,” the senator said in a statement.

Ms. Poe also said the bill aims to prevent another suspension, rooted in what she said in the “inability” of LTFRB to adapt to technology.

“This way, we may avoid the recurrence of a similar suspension affecting the TNVS community, which is rooted (in) the apparent inability of the LTFRB to adjust and adapt to new technology. Based on what happened, it seems that it flexes its discretion as a whimsical regulator just for the sake of imposing regulations,” Ms. Poe said.



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