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DOTr says Grab ‘seems confused’ about TNVS drivers supply situation

Grab Philippines seems to be confused about the real score regarding the supply of transport network vehicle services (TNVS) drivers when it pinned the blame of a shortage to the government, Department of Transportation (DOTr) said Monday.

It has received reports that Grab Philippines has sent out emails to its drivers “essentially blaming the government for a ‘supply crisis’,” according to DOTr.

“Grab seems to confuse drivers with TNVS in determining supply. [The Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board] issues franchises or Provisional Authority (PA) to TNVS for them to legally get bookings and accept passengers,” the department said in a statement.

“Hence, if a TNVS with a PA or franchise cannot run because it does not have driver, it can find a replacement driver,” the DOTr said.

There is a lack of supply in drivers as the company only has 35,000 active drivers at any given time serving 600,000 bookings daily, Grab said last week.

Grab claimed it lost up to 10 percent of its partner drivers when the LTFRB canceled the P2-per-minute charge last April.

The LTFRB has set the TNVS cap in Metro Manila at 65,000. It has yet to review the limit.

The DOTr clarified, however, that the LTFRB has started to accept applications for TNVS outside the master list earlier submitted by TNCs.

“Currently, LTFRB is accepting applications for TNVS franchises, even outside the Masterlist, contrary to the statement of Grab that TNVS allowed to apply for a franchise are limited to the Masterlist,” the DOTr said.

“In fact, LTFRB has just completed the online registration of 10,000 new cars in addition to the Masterlist, with plans to open registration for TNVS applicants for those slots in the master list which have become inactive,” it added.

Grab Philippines has apologized to its riders and partner drivers for the “miscommunication” that was sent.

“In relation to the press statement on Grab’s electronic direct mail (EDM) message to passengers and drivers sent out last Thursday, September 13, we would like to thank the Department of Transportation for clarifying the issues and assuring everyone that the continuously growing demand for TNVS services is being addressed,” it said in a separate statement sent to reporters via Viber.

“Moreover, we would like to sincerely apologize for any miscommunication brought about by the EDM to targeted recipients. In no way was this EDM meant to undermine the ongoing progress and dialogues being undertaken to add TNVS supply,” it said.

Grab said it will work closely with the government to address the growing demand especially during the holiday season.

We value our open line of communication and goodwill with our regulators. We will continue to tighten up on our communications as we work closely with the government towards addressing the growing demand in time for the Holiday season.” —Jon Viktor Cabuenas/VDS, GMA News