GrabCar Philippines official confirmed authorization from the government, first authorized ride-sharing application.
Ride-sharing services mobile applications are gaining popularity in the Philippines, especially in the capital city, Manila where transportation problems like poor train systems and traffic jams are very common.
State and company officials said Wednesday, the Philippine transport authorities authorized GrabCar as the first company to run under new rules governing ride-sharing apps.
GrabCar, a Singapore-based company got ahead on its rival Uber, a US company which is still submitting documents to comply with the Philippines’ new regulations, said LTFRB Information Officer Mary Ann Salada.
GrabCar and other “transport network companies,” will run under different rules from taxi cabs, said Salada. In some other countries, protests against ride-booking apps are held arguing they represent unfair competition.
In May, the government unveiled new guidelines for the industry after complaints from taxi cab operators.
“We consider the transport network companies as distinct from the taxi industry,” Salada told AFP.
GrabCar vehicles can now only be summoned via smartphones and the Internet, and cannot pick up customers who hail them on the street like taxi cabs and they can only accept credit card payments, she added.
According to Salada, GrabCar drivers will have to get a franchise licence from the transport bureau and their customers will be covered under the same obligatory insurance as taxi passengers.
GrabCar drivers will also have a higher franchise fee, which must be renewed annually compared to seven years for taxi drivers and their vehicles will be allowed a shorter “lifespan” than taxi cabs.
GrabCar Philippines said in a statement posted on its website, “With full accreditation, more Filipino commuters will be able to use GrabCar and be confident that we offer a legitimate and safe private hire service. ”
“We will now focus on rapidly expanding our GrabCar service to serve more passengers across the Philippines,” the statement added.
According to both the transport department and ride-sharing companies, the Philippines is the first country to start nationwide rules on ride-sharing,
GrabCar is already available in the Manila, said Bautista but how many vehicles were operating under their system is not yet announced. Only local and city governments had regulated the services.