Last week, the highly publicized drama between the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) and Uber took an intense turn: The transport network company was ordered by the government to cease their operations for an entire month.
The agency said it slapped Uber with the one-month suspension because of its violation of the moratorium the agency imposed on processing new applications. The transport network company went “above the law,” said LTFRB head honcho Martin Delgra.
Now that Uber is out of the game for 30 days, there’s panic on the streets of Manila. The TNC users who view the company as savior from our capital’s godawful public transport system have been causing a ruckus online, while competitors both old and upcoming are making moves to corner the market. The LTFRB insists that the blame is on Uber, and strongly suggested that the company compensate its drivers for their loss of livelihood due to their lapse.
With Uber drivers currently grounded, what can drivers do with their cars during these trying times? Enterprising drivers prove that there is life beyond Uber by telling us how they’re making a buck or two while waiting for the month-long drought to end.
Car for hire with driver
Jojo (not his real name) has been a driver for more than 15 years now. Before he joined Uber in 2015, he’s manned the wheel of an ambulance, a mobile laboratory van, a regular taxi, an airport taxi, and more. Earlier this year, he parted ways with the TNC, saying that pay has been lower despite spending more hours in the road.
Since February, he’s been enjoying a more lucrative gig: renting out his car with driver included. Aside from getting bookings via OLX and other classifieds, he also gets some fetching services from the airport, which according to him is more lucrative than just waiting for a phone call from prospective clients.
“Those who could not get an Uber before the suspension but do not want to get airport taxis because of their price would be referred to us. Since I just live near the airport, I can be on call and I can fetch them in 30 minutes or less. I have a friend in the airport that helps me get passengers from the inside for a cut,” he says.
Prices of vehicles for hire depend on the model of the vehicle and destination, with bigger cars like vans, pickups, and AUV’s offered at a higher rate than sedans and other smaller types.
Vans and pickups are priced higher because of their cargo space or more seats, which is usually rented when people move to a new house or go on a group vacation. Meanwhile, people often rent sedans for smaller trips or as bridal cars.
The big switch
After the LTFRB declared the suspension of Uber, the government agency allowed Uber’s rivals like Grab and U-Hop to accommodate the drivers affected by the order against the said TNC.
Under LTFRB Board Resolution No. 19-2017, Uber drivers can make the switch to Grab or U-Hop by providing documents such as proof of accreditation issued by Uber and proof of insurance as transport network vehicle service.
“On a daily basis, either Grab or U-Hop will email us the list of the names of the TNVS coming from Uber. On our end, we will double-check it with the list given by Uber to us to ensure that only those accredited by Uber will be accommodated,” said LTFRB spokesperson Aileen Lizada in a report by GMA News Online.
Aside from U-Hop and Grab, there are other players in the transport tech arena willing to challenge Uber’s supremacy while it is docked. What are the other TNC’s that can cradle the drivers in limbo? We’ve researched them and this is what we found out, in case you’re thinking of finally making that big switch.
Grab, Uber’s most formidable rival, is still in play. While both companies received a hefty fine of P5 million, only Uber received a suspension order because it still kept on processing new drivers. Currently, Grab is eating the lion’s share in the TNC arena, with the company being forced to cap their surge rates at 1.4x due to the complaints about exorbitant prices.
U-Hop, another new player in the transport game, is introducing a different method of transporting the commuting public. Regardless of the type of vehicle you own, you can join their growing fleet and service people in the Metro. U-Hop’s model consists of users paying a monthly subscription of P3,999 and they will be given 40 rides that pool them with other users.
Arcade City is the newest among the bunch of Uber alternatives for drivers currently grounded. Despite getting an order from the LTFRB to cease its operations, the ridesharing service insists that it doesn’t fall under any transportation law. Unlike Uber and other TNC’s, Arcade City works by connecting the driver and the passenger without any intervention from the service, which means the two parties do the haggling by themselves since the app doesn’t set any price at all.
With Uber’s one-month suspension, it’s not just the people who suffer from the lack of choices in terms of commuting. After the moratorium was issued, thousands of drivers lost their livelihood overnight, which means thousands of people left with no source of income until Uber’s servers go back online. Until the suspension finally expires, these drivers just have to find ways to make ends meet.