LTFRB OKs Grab's petition: Riders will not be reimbursed of P2/min charge

MANILA, Philippines – Riders of ride-hailing giant Grab Philippines will no longer be reimbursed of the P2-per-minute travel charges from their previous trips.

Partially reversing its July 9 decision, the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) approved on Tuesday, September 4, Grab's motion for reconsideration by setting aside the reimbursement penalty for "lack of legal basis" to support the decision.

The regulatory board said, however, that the P10 million fine still stands, for charging its riders P2 per minute on top of its government approved rates.

Under the LTFRB-approved scheme issued in December 2016, Grab can only charge a flagdown rate of P40 and an additional P10 to P14 per kilometer.

The controvery started when PBA party list Representative Jericho Nograles revealed the "illegal charges." The lawmaker's allegation prompted an LTFRB hearing and the suspension of the charge.

Despite signing the order, LTFRB Board Member Aileen Lizada reiterated that she dissented from the majority opinion, saying that penalties should be imposed only upon the effectivity of the department order (DO) 2017-11.

DO 2017-11 was issued on June 19, 2017, which allowed TNCs to have a "pre-arranged fare as authorized by the LTFRB."

Grab implemented the P2-per-minute fare component on June 5, 2017, which means that the travel charge was rolled out prior to DO 2017-011.

"Respondent imposed the travel time rate of P2 per minute on June 5, 2017, which was prior to the effectivity of the said Department Order…Thus, it is clear that another [DO] was needed to supersede [DO] 2015-011, absent the former, [DO] 2015-011 remains valid," Lizada said.

"Simply stated, penalties should be imposed upon effectivity of the regulatory policy," Lizada added.

In an attempt to regulate fares, the Department of Transportation issued an order on June 11 giving LTFRB the full authority over fare regulation of ride-hailing companies. –

Aika Rey

Aika Rey covers the Philippine Senate for Rappler. Before writing about politicians, she covered budget, labor, and transportation issues.