Photo by Aika Rey/Rappler
In a press briefing on Wednesday, March 28, Grab Philippines Head Brian Cu said that they have started the so-called onboarding process of Uber drivers since Monday, March 26.
However, because of the sheer volume of ex-Uber drivers transitioning, Cu said they would have to extend beyond the April 8 shutdown.
“We've been processing endlessly, tirelessly since yesterday all ‘Uberkads’ (Uber partners) who come here and we will continue doing this all the way up to, even after the Uber app is turned off because I'm not sure everyone can be here before April 8," Cu said in a mix of English and Filipino.
Cu said that all those who operated under Uber, as long as they were part of the masterlist submitted by Uber to the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB), will be activated on their platform.
Cu said they will not accept new operators.
LOOK: Grab Philippines holds an onboarding session for Uber drivers in Quezon City. Uber services are available only until April 8 @rapplerdotcom pic.twitter.com/z2ZZMHSeH7 — Aika Rey (@reyaika) March 28, 2018
Meanwhile, LTFRB Board Member Aileen Lizada assured the commuting public that fares will not be raised with Grab’s acquisition of Uber.
“Grab cannot increase its fare on its own. We know their range. We monitor them. Any request for fare hike goes through a hearing, where commuter side is heard, where NEDA (National Economic Development Authority) helps us. Grab knows how serious we are with violations as we fined Uber before,” Lizada said on Wednesday.
Cu added that the increase in Grab's available drivers will also mean demand will be met better.
“With the increased supply base, it’s easier to allocate, meaning surge will not be as frequent as it used to be,” he said.
Although fares right now may not increase given the merger, Grab Philippines and Uber earlier submitted petitions to increase fares due to the tax reform law. The hearing is set on April 3.
Lizada also said that Grab will not monopolize the transport network vehicle services industry.
She said that other potential transport network companies have submitted applications to the LTFRB before but they are just waiting for them to complete their documents.
“If you say that there is no competition, soon there will be. Owto, Lag go, and Hype had applied to be TNCs,” she said.
Once all requirements have been submitted, Lizada said the regulatory board will deliberate if they will be accepted.
Many Uber drivers were confused by the situation.
At Grab’s onboarding site in Quezon City, Ruggo Rivero and Olga Diaz said they only found out that the Uber app will shut down on Monday.
Photo by Aika Rey/Rappler
“It was very confusing for us. We only knew about it two days ago. As partners, we would have appreciated if we knew about this earlier given that Uber has not been meeting its target profits,” Rivero said in a mix of English and Filipino.
With limited time in their hands, Rivero said he had to give up a day of driving just to finally process his papers. “I could’ve driven now as surge pricing is higher but here I am now.”
However, Rivero sees a light at the end of the tunnel with better income coming from his driving.
“Well, I guess I’ll be earning more with Grab than with Uber. Olga earns more than I do [when she drives for Grab]. But at the end of the day, for us it’s all about service,” he said.
On Monday, March 26, Uber announced that it decided to sell its operations in Southeast Asia to Grab. In turn, Uber will receive a 27.5% stake in the business. — Rappler.com