Uber, LTFRB agree to regulate car service

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Nov 11 2014 01:46 PM | Updated as of Nov 11 2014 09:46 PM

MANILA – Government and car service provider Uber have found a common ground in efforts to regulate "vehicle for hire" services in the country.

The Department of Transportation and Communications (DOTC), the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB), and officials of Uber Philippines and Singapore met on Tuesday to discuss issues on modern technology solutions for transportation services.

LTFRB has agreed to review and update its set of rules for vehicle-for-hire operations to accommodate modern solutions such as Uber.

Uber has also agreed to present to government reforms implemented in other countries to likewise modernize the Philippines’ land transportation regulations.

“We will always push for anything that modernizes the country’s transport systems under my watch. Government welcomes tech solutions to transport problems, and fortunately, Uber also wants to work with us to make it happen,” Transportation Secretary Jun Abaya said.

Abaya said the LTFRB is looking to find ways to support tech solutions and not stifle innovations that aim to improve public transportation.

“Both sides came to the table to find concrete ways to make government regulations more in tune with today’s technologies. We all agreed on two things: first, Uber’s services are for the people’s benefit; and second, regulation is a must for public safety and order,” he said.

One of the proposals for the new rules is for Uber and other services to give government access to the identities of its partner drivers for security reasons.

“Our aim is to encourage the use of even more technologies and innovations across all forms of public land transport. Our taxi reform program, for instance, could adopt similar services such as centralized booking, passenger access to driver identities, and tracking systems for lost-and-found items,” Abaya said.

The meeting between government and Uber came following a crackdown on Uber vehicles last month following complaints from taxi operators that the service is operating without franchises. 

Uber, which operates in 45 countries, launched its services in Manila in March.

The US-based startup allows users to share a ride or hail private vehicles through its mobile application.