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Tuesday, August 21, 2018

Commuter Tales 101

My dream for Metro Manila is to have an efficient transportation system at par with the key cities in Asia. Yes, that is my dream.

As a commuter, I spend much of my time being stuck in traffic and in worst scenarios- not being able to get a ride because cab drivers are being choosy with destinations (or the offer you a ride but will charge you exorbitant fare). Of course, there are jeepneys and buses and the LRT/MRT but it really depends on where you are going and riding LRT/MRT especially on rush hour is like being trapped like a sardine inside a can.

Luckily, Uber and Grab came into the picture and it brought joy to commuters like me. Even if the ride costs a bit more than the usual cab fare, the convenience of riding it is like cherry on a cake. And those who usually bring their cars to work shifted to this kind of transportation or Transportation Network Vehicle Service (TNVS). What's nice about TNVS is that a commuter gets to be picked up by the car from his/her chosen location and then dropped-off an his/her chosen destination. Better than bus, jeepney or LRT/MRT because it saves you time.

Sadly, it was a short-lived happiness as LTFRB seem to have discovered anomalies and other violations brought about by these two TNVS which eventually led to the demise of Uber. As a commuter and avid rider of TNVS, I really don't know how LTFRB came up with these supposedly violations. And can you imagine the scenario of thousands and thousands of TNVS riders who suddenly found themselves without rides especially since Uber ceased its operation. Of course, some Uber vehicles was absorbed by Grab but with the huge demand of TNVS riders, the remaining number of Grab vehicles cannot cope up with the demand.

As a commuter and tax-payer, isn't it our right to be given efficient transportation service by LTFRB? But what is happening is that they are the ones making our commuter lives miserable by cutting-off an effective way of transportation for us. It was even in the news that one of the violations of Grab is that it charges the commuters high fare. My opinion on this matter is that before I book my ride, I do check my fare so it is really up to me if I want to continue my booking or not. I'm sure most of the other Grab riders feels this way, too especially if one is really in a hurry to go to work or meeting. Another stressful news is that LTFRB has been limiting the number of Grab vehicles to serve commuters like me. Its like 1 Grab car vs 10 commuters so you can just imagine the waiting time for each and every one of us.

I've been a Grab Platinum member for quite some time now and I used to brag about the fact that being a Platinum member has its perks like being prioritized for rides BUT with LTFRB cutting off some of the Grab applications, I suddenly found myself getting frustrated with my Grab booking especially when I have to go somewhere during rush hour. And to think that "ber" months is just around the corner, hello traffic and angry commuters sans rides.

I am writing this to call the attention of LTFRB to take action in increasing the number of TNVS cars to serve the daily commuters.

N.B. The Philippines was the first country in Asia to regulate ride-hailing in 2015 and since then, other neighboring countries has followed our lead. Now, we seem to have gotten behind again, big thanks to LTFRB. Whatever happened to progress when in fact we are moving backwards with these kind of absurd regulations.


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