MMDA to LTFRB: Leave Uber alone!

Uber logo
Uber logo

MANILA, Philippines – MMDA issued a statement urging LTFRB to support transport services like Uber after an SUV driver was caught and fined P200,000 in a sting operation conducted by LTFRB on Wednesday.

Chairman Francis Tolentino described Uber as a “well-meaning, technology-driven effort intended for public safety and convenience”.

LTFRB earlier stated that they conducted the sting operation in order to be fair with franchise owners and out of concern for the safety of their passengers.

According to the MMDA Chairman, such tactics do not help resolve the lack of alternate means of transportation, and will only increase apprehension records.

“We cannot curtail their mobility rights,” added Tolentino, who compares hybrid carpooling services like Uber to private bridal cars for rent, which is a private transaction between the rider and the owner of the vehicle.

This is outside the scope of the LTFRB, an agency of the Philippine Government under the DOTC that regulates public transportation services.

Below is the full statement issued by MMDA:

[Admin 05] The Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) today advised the Land Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) to find ways to reasonably assist transport services like local Uber instead of suspending its operations and impounding them as colorum vehicles citing that such private initiative will help ease traffic in Metro Manila pending the availability of a modern mass transport system, among other things.

MMDA Chairman Francis Tolentino gave the advice following reports that the LTFRB, acting on the complaint of the Philippine National Taxi Operators Association that the growing popularity of Uber has disabled them and has adversely affected commuters and is reportedly set to impose sanctions on Uber’s operations.

“The muscle of the law and the procedural and technical arms of government agencies alone cannot resolve the lack of alternate means of transportation problem, they can only increase apprehension records, Uber or hybrid carpooling is a well-meaning technology-driven effort intended for public safety and convenience that’s why people are patronizing it. We cannot curtail their mobility rights. This is similar to private bridal cars and private ambulances for rent which is a private transaction between the rider and the owner of the vehicle,” Tolentino said.

In a similar vein, the MMDA chief explained that in as much as the government would not allow the taxicab industry to fail, it should not also curtail Uber’s options because of the wide range of opportunities and customer’s choice it provides, like convenience, comfort and riding safety, as Uber provides top of the line SUVs and limousines.

Uber is a techie transportation network that makes mobile apps that connect passengers with drivers of private vehicles for hire and ride sharing services. The company arranges pickups wherein cars are reserved by sending a text message or by using a mobile app and within ten minutes the vehicle would arrive, providing relief to Metro Manilans, similar to a system in California.

In Metro Manila, Uber’s service is available at the Makati and Ortigas corridors thereby helping our ailing public transport system especially this coming Yuletide season.

Uber’s service car models include Fortuner, Montero, Camry, and Hummers which passengers say are far better and safer than dilapidated taxicabs plying around town with some having tampered meters, some of whom even ignoring taxicab commuter pleas for a ride.

“Perhaps there is another way of looking at this system, as no irregularity under the Public Service Law, as amended, is being committed here, and has proven to be beneficial to commuters.”