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Grab PH Welcomes DOTr’s Directive to Allow Hatchbacks in Masterlist

Grab Philippines welcomed the government’s move that allows hatchbacks within the 55,000 units in the TNVS master list to operate as public transport.

This came after the Department of Transportation (DOTr) leadership ordered the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) to allow the said vehicles run on the conditions set forth by MC 2018-005.

Grab Philippines President Brian Cu expressed gratitude over DOTr Secretary Arthur Tugade’s directive.

“We are grateful to Secretary Arthur Tugade for this directive. It shows his magnanimity and a deep sense of fairness for all those involved. Grab has been coordinating with the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board and the DOTr to resolve hatchbacks issues,” he said.

In a letter to the DOTr last month, Grab clarified that safety is never compromised in either hatchbacks or sedan as most, if not all, vehicles sold in the market today conform to international standards of safety and roadworthiness.

“Accordingly, a hatchback is a vehicle with a hatch-type rear door that opens upwards and often a shared volume for the passenger and cargo areas. The essential difference between hatchbacks and sedans is the trunk and engine displacement. Generally, a sedan’s cargo space is a separate compartment. On the other hand, hatchbacks have no divide between the rear seats and cargo space allowing for ample storage. Therefore, hatchbacks and sedans are very much alike,” Grab Philippines Public Affairs Head Leo Gonzales stated in the letter to Transportation Undersecretary Mark De Leon.

“In fact, all the vehicles sold in the Philippines including hatchbacks conform to international safety standards called the UNECE standards (United Nations Economic Commission for Europe), to which the Philippines is a signatory,” Gonzales added.

MC 2018-005 expressly states that accredited hatchback units shall be allowed to operate subject to the following conditions:

  1. Hatchback units shall be accepted subject to a transition period of three years in order for the peers to recoup their investment; and
  2. Hatchback units shall only be allowed to operate within Metro Manila.

“Consistent with the DOTr’s statement that hatchback TNVS units provide a more economical option to the public, we propose that hatchbacks be permanently allowed to operate as TNVS,” Cu said.

In terms of engine displacement, the smallest engine displacement of hatchbacks in the market is around 800cc, two-times the minimum displacement allowed for motorcycles to be driven on highways.

“Similar to how the DOTr has approved the pilot implementation of motorcycle taxis for public transport, hatchbacks should be afforded the same opportunity to serve the commuting public on a supervised pilot test,” said Cu.

“Grab will continue working closely with our regulators and policy-makers to address remaining TNVS issues and to help our partners. This is a testament to the fact that productive dialogue with regulators and policy-makers bring better results than taking matters to the streets, and we encourage the TNVS community to do the same,” Cu shared.

“Our next priority is to help our TNVS partners with their issues in securing bank conformity. We encourage the banking industry to help us create a strong foundation for micro-entrepreneurs such as TNVS, and be our partners to uplift the livelihood of our fellow Filipinos,” Cu added.

Grab is in continuous talks with banks to assist its TNVS partners with the processing of their bank conformity, a requirement by the LTFRB for the processing of the Certificate of Public Convenience and Provisional Authority. For now, those who have responded positively to this call for partnership with Grab are Eastwest Bank, Toyota Financing, and BDO.

“We urge the other banks to be considerate to the plight of the TNVS community,” Cu concluded.

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