MANILA – Faced with a government crackdown, the head of Uber’s Philippine operations said “old ways” don’t apply to ride sharing services, as it sought a compromise with regulators.
Uber is studying whether or not it will ask its drivers without permits to stop operating on July 26, the government deadline to comply with regulations, said general manager Laurence Cua.
The country’s transport regulator fined Uber and Grab P5 million each and ordered them to deactivate 50,000 cars without a certificate of public convenience or provisional authority.
“Sometimes the old ways of thinking, how you regulate transportation do not apply when a disruptive technology like the internet, ride sharing, an application, and the commitment of companies to make rides safe goes into play,” Cua said in an exclusive interview with ANC’s The Boss.
“That’s something we continue to discuss with the current administration,” he added.
Asked if Uber would ask its drivers to stop operating on July 26, Cua said: “We’re still going to evaluate that option… We are talking about that internally.”
Removing thousands of Uber cars off the streets would affect not only commuters, but also drivers who have made ride-sharing their source of income.
“It’s is going to be incredibly bad. We have several thousands of people relying on Uber to be both drivers and be passengers on it,” he said.
The Philippines was the first country in the world to regulate ride-sharing services. Uber and Grab are especially popular in Metro Manila, where traffic jams and faulty trains are constant source of misery for commuters.
The Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board suspended applications for new ride-sharing accreditation last year.
Cua said the suspension was “taking longer than everybody thought,” prompting Uber to put on hold plans to expand in Davao and Pampanga.
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