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DOTC to issue guidelines on transport apps such as Uber this week

/ 09:39 PM May 10, 2015

THE Department of Transportation and Communications would soon publish guidelines that would pave the way for the legal use of ride-sharing smartphone applications like Uber, a statement dated Sunday (May 10) showed.

The DOTC said that it would publish this week “new categories” of public transport conveyances, following months of reviewing existing guidelines.

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The review was prompted by the arrest of a driver using Uber’s platform in 2014 after taxi-cab operators complained the app was hurting their business.

The arrest, part of a sting-operation, drew widespread condemnation from the users of Uber, whose Internet-based platform links passengers and drivers. Uber, which is based in the United States but is being used in over 57 countries worldwide, has lured fans because of its convenience and transparent credit card-based payment system.

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“We view technological innovation as a driver for progress, especially in transportation where it can provide safer and more convenient commuting options to the public. App-based transport services help address the increasing demand for mobility spurred by rapid urbanization,” Transportation and Communication Secretary Joseph Abaya said.

Abaya said the new guidelines would center around the so-called Transportation Network Vehicle Service (TNVS) classification. He said this would allow Transportation Network Companies (TNC) “to exist within our regulatory framework.”

The rules were a joint effort between the DOTC and Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB).

Under the new classification, a TNC is defined as an organization that provides pre-arranged transportation services for compensation using an Internet-based technology application or a digital platform technology to connect passengers with drivers using their personal vehicles. TNCs will provide the public with online-enabled transportation services known as a TNVS, which will connect drivers with ride-seekers through an app.

The DOTC is also imposing certain standards for vehicle eligibility, such as the requirement of global positioning system (GPS) tracking and navigation devices for convenient and safer services. Only sedans, Asian Utility Vehicles (AUV), Sports Utility Vehicles (SUV), vans, or other similar vehicles will be allowed.

“A maximum age limit of seven years will be enforced,” the DOTC said.

Operators will be required to obtain a Certificate of Public Convenience (CPC) for every vehicle to ensure accountability, the DOTC said. To promote passenger safety, drivers must be screened and accredited by the TNCs and registered with the LTFRB, it added.

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“Many people appreciate the safe and convenient services offered by the TNVS category. We want this to motivate other public utility vehicle operators to modernize, upgrade, and innovate their services for the benefit of the public,” Abaya said.

A new classification is also being created for Premium Taxis, which compared to regular taxis, will have the advantage of being equipped with GPS, of having online and smartphone booking capability, a seven-year age limit, and cashless transactions through credit or debit card payments. SFM

TOPICS: Certificate of Public Convenience, CPC, Department of Transportation and Communications, guidelines, Joseph Abaya, Land Transportation, Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board, laws and regulation, LTFRB, ride-sharing smartphone applications, taxi service, taxicabs, technology, TNVS, Transportation Network Vehicle Service, Uber
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