DOTr Issues Order Allowing LTFRB to Regulate TNCs Fares, Rates
In an effort to ensure that fares are just and reasonable, the Department of Transportation (DOTr) released a new order giving the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) the full authority to regulate and determine the fares, rates, and other related charges being imposed by Transport Network Companies (TNCs).
The new Department Order (DO) effectively amends and supersedes an earlier DO issued in 2015 (DO No. 2015-011), wherein TNCs were allowed to set their own fares, subject only to oversight by the LTFRB.
“Hindi naman yata tama ‘yun. (That’s not right.) You can’t engage in the business of public transportation and determine your own fares, your own rules. Naiintindihan natin na mayroon silang negosyong pino-protektahan, ngunit responsibilidad din ng estado na protektahan ang kapakanan ng mga commuters (We understand that they have a business to protect, but it is the State’s responsibility to protect the welfare of commuters),” DOTr Secretary Arthur Tugade said.
Under the new DO, the DOTr ordered a centralized regulation of TNCs and the Transport Network Vehicle Service (TNVS) units that operate under them.
As mandated by law, the LTFRB was tasked to regulate and monitor the compliance of TNCs and TNVS with policies, laws, and regulations. It is primarily in charge of issuing franchises, setting routes, setting operating conditions, and imposing fines, suspensions, and cancellations when necessary.
Meanwhile, the LTFRB assures TNCs and the riding public that public hearings and consultations will be conducted before fares and rates are adjusted and determined.
“Ayaw na nating maulit ‘yung nangyari noong mga nakaraang taon kung saan sila [TNCs] lamang ang nagdidikta sa presyo ng kanilang pasaheng sinisingil. Ayaw na rin natin maulit yung sobra-sobrang surge sa pricing lalo na kapag peak hours. Kawawa naman commuters natin na walang laban (We don’t want a repeat of the previous years when only they [TNCs] dictated their fares. We also don’t want a repeat of the exorbitant surge pricing especially during peak hours. Pity our commuters who can’t do anything),” LTFRB Chairman Martin Delgra III said.
The DO acknowledges the established roles of TNCs and TNVS in providing transport services to the public. However, DOTr Undersecretary for Road Transport and Infrastructure Tim Orbos emphasizes that state regulation is necessary in order to ensure that the interests of all parties, most especially the riding public, are protected.
“Ibang usapan na kapag may buhay na nakasalalay sa negosyo mo. Itama natin yung mga maling nakasanayan. (It’s a different matter if lives are dependent on your business. Lets correct the wrong habits.) We will regulate to ensure that our commuters will be safe and protected. Ayaw namin na may madedehado (We don’t want anyone to feel disadvantaged),” Usec. Orbos said.