Grab puts cap on surge charges after Uber suspension

MANILA, Philippines – Grab will limit its surge charging in the wake of the one-month suspension of their main competitor Uber, the company announced on Tuesday, August 15.

“We put it at 1.4 [times the regular rate] because we wanted the price not to surge excessively,” Grab country head Brian Cu said.

The surge amounts to an additional fare of at least P20 and at most P50, Cu said. (READ: What's the fuss about the Grab, Uber regulation issue?)

He said the company recorded a 10-15% rise in bookings in the morning of Uber’s suspension, explaining why riders had a hard time picking up a ride, while those who do manage to get rides, pay high prices.

With around 66,000 drivers from Uber forced off the road after the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) suspended the company's operations for repeatedly disobeying the agency's orders, Grab said they have had a difficult time keeping up with the demand.

Their application’s algorithm, Cu said, takes into account the number of bookings in an area relative to the number of drivers available there, before calculating the fare.

He said the cap is only temporary. They may change the surge cap the following weeks as they do not want to limit the income of their drivers.

Cu added that they stand with the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) in suspending Uber.

“We do try to question [some LTFRB orders], but at the end of the day we comply. Bottomline of it all is following the laws of the land,” he added. –

Rambo Talabong

Rambo Talabong covers security, crime, and the city of Manila for Rappler. He was chosen as a Jaime V. Ongpin Fellow in 2019 for his reporting on President Rodrigo Duterte’s war on drugs.