Grab fined P14M; TNCs overcharging?

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    The Philippine Competition Commission (PCC) has slapped Grab Philippines P14 million in fines for its price breaches covering May 11 to August 10, officials said.

    This developed as the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) are summoning to a meeting this week transport network companies on complaints from commuters of alleged hike in fares.

    Sources said PCC is expected to issue any time a statement on its order to Grab as well as the findings of its fourth quarter review under the old voluntary commitments submitted by the ride-hailing company to address the anti-competitive issues arising from its acquisition of Uber in 2017.

    When asked for confirmation, Grab country manager Brian Cu did not comment except to say he expects the company could have continued to breach the 22-percent price increase limit set by the PCC.

    “We will continue to have deviation (in prices),” said Cu attributing this to the complicated formula crafted by the PCC in determining the cap.

    There were no details on the number of breaches for the period but the amount is nearly three times the P5-million fine slapped by the anti-trust body for its breaches in the third quarter covering February to May also this year.

    Cu also said Grab would not contest the findings of PCC on the fourth quarter findings.

    Cu said the Grab is set to roll out this month the disbursement of the P5-million fine slapped by PCC for the third quarter review.

    He said the company will issue the notices to the 3 million Grab riders covered five days before the disbursement.

    Meanwhile, the LTFRB said in a statement it has received complaints that some ride-hailing applications have started to charge higher fares since the Christmas season began, and most especially this month.

    Ride-hailing applications have a standard rate of P40 as base fare, P10 to P15 per kilometer, P2 per minute, and a surge cap of 2x depending on the flow of traffic.
    Grab Philippines said it will cooperate with the government.

    Last year, LTFRB has given franchise to six new TNCs in addition to existing operators Grab Philippine and U-HOP Transportation Network Vehicle system Inc.

    The six TNCs include Hype Transport System Inc, GoLag Inc, iPara Technologies and Solutions Inc. Hirna Mobility Solutions Inc, Micab Systems Corp. and E-Pick Me Up Inc.

    As of press time, LTFRB refused to comment which among the TNCs aside from Grab are actively operating in Metro Manila,Cebu and Pampanga.