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Arcade City to push through with launch despite 'cease and desist' order

Ride-sharing start-up Arcade City will push through with the launching of its mobile application in the Philippines next week despite a "cease and desist" order from the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB).

"Arcade City will proceed with our app launch on the 16th in the Philippines and elsewhere in Southeast Asia," Christopher David, CEO and founder of Arcade City, told GMA News Online in an email interview on Friday.

"Hopefully the LTFRB spends more time processing applications of TNVS (transport network vehicle and service) and drivers, less time on making threats to companies trying to help," David added.

On Thursday, the LTFRB ordered Arcade City to "cease and desist" from operating and launching its mobile application on Monday, April 16, noting that those who are operating under it are considered as colorum vehicles and that they have not coordinated with the agency.

David explained that their firm is not a transport network company.

He said it has a "big difference" compared to ride-sharing services such as Grab and Uber.

"We are a platform to support local networks forming their own TNC/TNVS and all using one platform. In the meantime, drivers can sign up and create a profile that is visible to people nearby," David said.

"Riders can choose their driver. Drivers can set their own rates. Driver networks called 'guilds' set the policies for their local area. We won't be hiring some corporate people to run an office in the Philippines, we invite the drivers themselves to run the networks," David added.

He said in 2017, more than 20,000 drivers and riders in the Philippines who signed up in their "early version" of the mobile application.

David, however, said they had to take it down as it was not "stable enough to handle all the demand."

"We took that version down but we'll be emailing all those people to sign up again when our new app goes live on Monday," David said.

Meanwhile, David expressed hope that the LTFRB can consider the service that they are be willing to offer to Filipino commuters.

"It is a different model than Uber's, and governments are not accustomed to working with models like ours. We hope they are willing to work with this new model," David said. — BAP, GMA News