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May 21, 2018

Having a Hard Time Booking a Grab? You're Not Alone

Are you having difficulties getting a Grab car? You’re not alone. Since Uber pulled out of the Southeast Asian market, Grab is pretty much holding a monopoly in the ride-sharing or Transport Network Company (TNC) business. But the situation isn’t rosy for the last man standing.

In a statement, Grab says that daily bookings in Metro Manila have almost doubled to 600,000. However, the number of available drivers has actually gone down from 43,000 to just 35,000 (a decrease of 18 percent). As a result, there are actually 8,000 less cars every day to meet Grab riders’ needs.

What gives? Well, Grab is putting the blame on everyone’s favorite punching bag, the LTFRB. Why? Despite an all-out Uber to Grab transition drive (including on-ground sign-up events), more than 6,000 cars have been found missing from the LTFRB’s audited master list of approved TNVS drivers. And as part of LTFRB’s regulation, Grab cannot onboard these drivers unless they’re not on this list. The remaining 2,000 have decided not to move onto the Grab platform (Grab requires formerly Uber drivers to be active for two weeks straight in order to be eligible).

Currently, Grab is doing “everything they can to alleviate the situation.” Their immediate work focuses on onboarding the 6,000 displaced drivers. The TNC is also working with the government to find a long-term solution. In the meantime, Grab is increasing driver incentives as much as 15 percent in order to keep them on the road.


  1. Why the government decided to dip their hands into the TNVS bowl is beyond me.

    There's absolutely no government effort in creating these companies; it was all private enterprise.

    The government should therefore takes its hands off these companies. If Grab would want to charge P10,000 per ride then so be it. It will be to Grab's disadvantage if they charge too much.

    Simply put, the market has its own mechanisms to weed out dumb and greedy businesses. The government meanwhile, when it dips its hand into the market to mold it, is more trouble than help.

    Grab sucks but the moment the government meddled into the market, it distorted the market with its price and volume mismanagement.

    The end result is that the loser TNVS (Grab) lived and the better one (Uber) left the market. If the market was left to function with an invisible hand, Uber most probably wouldn't have left.

    Oh and fuck the people who whine about surge price. Go take a taxi if you can't afford it. You are not entitled to a TNVS.

  2. The TNVS are using public roads, that is why they need a franchise to operate, otherwise they should build their own roads in their own country and operate there, free from regulations of the Philippine government.

  3. There's no problem in requiring a franchise and being regulated as long as it does not interfere too much with the operations. When they decided on regulating TNVS and requiring franchise, they should've only focused on disciplining the drivers and requiring excellent service. They shouldn't have meddled with their pricing. It's their right to ask for a certain price as long as they can provide great service. It's not cheap to maintain a vehicle. So, why force them to lower their fare. They just made the situation worse. This is no different to restaurants, which also have different pricing. Some are cheap and some are expensive. Of course, you would expect better service and better quality of foods from expensive restaurants. You only get what you pay for. They should've let the market decide whether the price is too much for them to ask. And, whether they are the TNVS' target market or not.


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