Asia

Uber Philippines Suspends Service After Cracking Down on Unregistered Drivers

The Philippines’ Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) has ordered Uber to suspend its services for one month.

Two weeks after it issued a show-cause order halting the application process of new drivers, the U.S. ride-sharing company confirmed “temporarily suspending operations” on Tuesday.

“We are disappointed with the LTFRB’s decision to deny our Motion for Reconsideration, and will comply with the Order. We look forward to urgently resolving this matter, and thank the public for its support over the last 24 hours,” Uber Philippines posted across all social media platforms.

The issue began back in July after the LTFRB ordered Uber and rival Grab to stop the activation of new drivers who registered in their systems as of June 30, and provide a master list of all drivers seeking permits from both companies, Rappler reported.

It then ordered the two ride-hailing companies to pay the fine of P5 million ($97,570.50) each for letting some drivers operate without permits.

On August 1, Uber tweeted out that application for vehicles were “being accepted but not processed, as we are optimistic that with the ongoing discussions with the LTFRB, ridesharing has a path forward.”

The board said Uber breached its order by accepting and activating at least three vehicles on July 27.

“The Respondent’s official statement as cited above is a clear admission on its part that it continued to accept applications despite the explicit order of the board,” the LTFRB explained.

However, Uber clarified on its Twitter account on August 2 that it was also unable to accept applications for new vehicles.

The order sparked outrage among netizens who rely on Uber for their daily commute.

“Right now, all my office mates are going crazy [because] we’re getting late for our meetings or work,” Regine Sanchez, an account manager in a digital advertising agency, told Coconuts Manila.

Sanchez added that her elderly mother doesn’t drive and also takes an Uber to get around everyday.

“Imagine how worried I get if she doesn’t get an Uber,” she said. “Or when she is forced to take a cab…with Uber, I have peace of mind for my mom.”

The order also affects about 66,000 Uber drivers who make money by driving for the ride-sharing company.

Meanwhile, more than 52,000 Grab vehicles are still in operation.

Uber regional executive Michael Brown has since issued an apology, saying, “If there was a misunderstanding on our part relative to the LTFRB’s intention with their prior order, then that was our mistake.”


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