MANILA, Philippines — Grab Philippines is set to attend a hearing with the Land Transportation and Franchising Regulatory Board (LTFRB) on June 29 as it seeks to raise its petition for a P20 hike in base fare.
This move by Grab aims to make up for the decreased daily take-home earnings of their partner drivers due to the soaring fuel prices, and to encourage more drivers to join the platform.
Ronald Roda, senior director for strategy and operations of Grab, said the cost of gas resulted to drivers’ income being reduced by 10 to 20 percent, and their requested P20 fare hike could at least provide an additional P200 for the drivers everyday.
As for commuters who have noticed that booking a Grab ride recently is much harder, this comes as no surprise as Roda noted that about two-thirds of its 65,000 drivers have quit the platform due to financial challenges and repossession of their vehicles.
Currently, only about 25,000 drivers remain in operation with Grab Philippines and this number gives passengers a 3 out of 10 chance of booking a ride easily as compared to the pre-pandemic setting wherein riders have an 8 out of 10 chance, according to Roda.
“The LTFRB has given 8,000 slots to the TNVS (transport network vehicle service) community which is currently being filled up very very slowly. So, with the increase in gas prices, it is much much harder to attract drivers into the platform because they are afraid of what might happen. Not to mention the existing ones are complaining that they are kind of at the end of their patience as far as gas prices are concerned,” Roda said.
“P200 is about 2.5 liters of additional gasoline—that’s what we’re just asking now. It’s not a full price increase but something that is faster just to be able to help the community. We want to be, in many ways similar to the jeepney asking, just give us a provisional one and we can work on a longer, more sustainable increase,” according to Roda.
To somehow alleviate the situation, Grab has reduced its commission from 20 percent to as low as 12 percent to give back to its partner drivers, and has given peak-hour incentives to drivers who still operate during these hours.
“Obviously, it is not something that can be sustained long. For example, plus P30 per ride on peak hour. We’re doing this now but it is not sustainable,” Roda explained.
The base fare of Grab is currently at P40 for the four-seater option, and P50 for the six-seater rides. Its minimum fare is at P80.