MalacaAang should treat the grounding of Uber and Grab cars in Metro Manila as a "transport crisis" comparable to a "total MRT breakdown or a paralyzing jeepney strike."
"In a mass transport-starved metropolis of 13 million, these ride-hailing companies provide a crucial service," Senate President Pro-Tempore Ralph Recto said.
"In terms of carrying capacity, these two exceed MRT's daily ridership of 500,000," Recto said.
This alone, Recto stressed, should prompt the Palace to step in, "in order to end the inconvenience of the hundreds of thousands who use them."
If the impasse drags on, the Palace has no choice but to intervene, the senator said.
Recto said the meeting to be held next week by Sen. JV Ejercito, vice-chair of the Senate Committee on Public Services, "will hopefully find a middle ground on an issue in dire need of arbitration."
"On accreditation, what are the requirements which can be done away with? How can the process be expedited? Is the fee reasonable? Are the documents required really needed?" he asked.
Doing these, Recto said, "falls within the directive of President Duterte to cut red tape in all public offices."
On the other hand, so called "Transport Network Companies" or TNCs, which is how regulators classify Grab and Uber, should comply with the regulations and "not use public pressure as a way to evade them," Recto said.
Recto said he expects the meeting to also touch on the welfare of Uber drivers.
"Are they getting the right incentives? There is chatter in social media on how they sometimes get the short end of the stick."
"Uber is a multinational TNC. With one swipe of a card, it instantaneously gets 25 percent of the fare. Money that is automatically repatriated to them," he said.
Recto reminded Department of Transportation officials that they will soon be taking Uber and Grab, following Budget Secretary Benjamin Diokno's announcement that to save money, government is planning to downsize its non-essential vehicle fleet and compel chauffeured officials to take Uber and Grab.
Source: Senate of the Philippines