There is nothing like government trying to mess up something that has been running pretty much fine, all in the name of “public welfare”, “doing its (supposed) mandate”, or whatever it may be.
That surely was the line that the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) used in defending its latest move, cracking down on the mobile-based ride sharing transport service Uber this week, beginning with a sting operation against an Uber vehicle.
And what is the LTFRB’s reason as to why they are going after Uber? Because it does not have a franchise that public utility vehicles should have in order for them to carry passengers.
Now granted that there are some gray areas that need to be ironed out regarding the status of Uber’s service, it baffles me as to why the LTFRB is all gung-ho in going after the service and possibly shut them down instead of engaging them in a proactive dialogue in which reasonable policy-making would prevail. One can’t help to wonder if the current leadership of the LTFRB is that stupid or if they may be protecting some vested interests.
I have yet to avail of Uber, but I have taken similar services in the past, particularly of GrabCar, which the Urban Roamer has covered in the past. That being said, there is a lingering fear that the LTFRB may go after them and other similar services as well with their line of thinking. And for commuters like us who have been enjoying these services as a safe alternative to some dangerous taxis they may get into or as a comfortable ride in the midst of the bad traffic situation in the metropolis, we are at the losing end of this stupid battle the agency is waging.
Let’s not even get started with the LTFRB’s ineptitude in regulating public vehicles on the road, going after the real violators like erring public vehicles that have caused accidents or have been blatantly violating traffic regulations.
Fortunately, the Metro Manila Development Authority is on the side of the commuters and have asked that the LTFRB reconsider its actions, as Uber and similar services have been helpful to commuters and to traffic as well.
The least the LTFRB can do at this point is to take a step back from its actions and pursue meaningful dialogues with Uber and other stakeholders and formulate a win-win solution that benefits everyone. We cannot tolerate such blatant arrogance from the LTFRB that only causes us commuters more misery than we can bear right now.