Ride-hailing woes far from over?


    The Philippine Competition Commission (PCC) is hopeful of the entry of another ride-hailing service into the market to dismantle the monopoly of the lone player, saying this could end woes of the riding public.

    The PCC expects the issuance by the end of the month a decision on a new or amended set of voluntary commitments of Grad aimed at addressing its anti-competitive behavior.

    These commitments are tied to pricing and service quality commitments.

    Johannes Bernabe, PCC commissioner said GoJek is going through legal and administrative process with the Land Transportation, Franchising and Regulatory Board and the Department of Transportation to resolve the Indonesian ride-hailing company’s compliance to the 60:40 rule on foreign ownership.

    “PCC wants to ensure there a viable competition in the ride-hailing market… (We hope to) to work with government agencies to ensure viable competitors are allowed in market,” Benabe told reporters.

    He added: “When you control 90 percent of the market, the ability and the incentive to behave anti-competitively is great. What is the way to curtail such behavior? Through remedies even if they are behavioral.”

    Bernabe said the PCC is doing a two-fold strategy in addressing this.

    “One is in terms of protecting the riders, the consuming public. Our main concern is price.

    We want (the prices) to be roughly similar or increased reasonably compared when Uber was still here. That is what we are trying to work on with Grab,” Bernabe said.

    He said the PCC is working on a methodology by which the deviation in the price when Uber was still in the market and when it exited is “not too much.”

    Some factors to be considered, Bernabe said, are inflation as well as the impact of the worsening traffic on the idle time on the road.

    Two is that Grab should only have a “reasonable” allowable profit increase.

    “Otherwise if you are just increasing profit unreasonably, that’s just brazen abuse of dominance,” Bernabe said.

    He added: “We have to look at what constitutes reasonable profit. We don’t want to guarantee (profit) for a dominant player or one with monopoly position but at the same time we have to be cognizant that Grab has to operate a viable business without pricing their services to the detriment of consumers.”