Uber picks a quarrel with Philippine transport regulator

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Ride sharing company Uber on August 15 refused to suspend its services in the Philippines after it was ordered to shut down for a month on accusations of violating an order issued in late July to stop accepting the accreditation of new cars.

The ban was imposed on August 14 in order to give Uber time to clear its huge backlog of applications and get proper permits for new drivers. According to the Philippine Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board, only around ten per cent of some 30,000 Uber cars currently have permits, a situation which would create “an uneven playing field” for other transport services such as taxis, buses and jeepneys – which all require licenses – and “unduly challenge the limit of fair regulation,” the transportation regulator said.

However, Uber immediately lodged an appeal against the order and said its operations will continue until the issue is legally resolved.

The suspension led to an outcry of anger among Filipinos on social media who supported Uber’s decision to appeal. The ride-sharing app, together with Grab, is hugely popular in the Philippines and regarded by its users as more reliable and competitive than the country’s outdated and notoriously shoddy public transport services and overcharging taxi drivers.

But President Rodrigo Duterte’s spokesman Ernesto Abella said a balance must be struck “between innovation and laws the regulator has to implement as part of its administrative function”.

Uber is already facing regulatory scrutiny in several Asian markets, including in South Korea and Japan. The firm said last month it is suspending its services in Macau. There have also some recent problems with unsafe cars in Singapore, and in countries such as Thailand Uber’s regulatory stance remains opaque and Uber drivers are frequently exposed to attacks from regular taxi drivers.

Furthermore, Uber faces continued pressure in Southeast Asia from competitors like Singapore’s Grab and lost out in China to local ride share service Didi Chuxing.

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Ride sharing company Uber on August 15 refused to suspend its services in the Philippines after it was ordered to shut down for a month on accusations of violating an order issued in late July to stop accepting the accreditation of new cars. The ban was imposed on August 14 in order to give Uber time to clear its huge backlog of applications and get proper permits for new drivers. According to the Philippine Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board, only around ten per cent of some 30,000 Uber cars currently have permits, a situation which would create "an uneven...

Reading Time: 2 minutes

Ride sharing company Uber on August 15 refused to suspend its services in the Philippines after it was ordered to shut down for a month on accusations of violating an order issued in late July to stop accepting the accreditation of new cars.

The ban was imposed on August 14 in order to give Uber time to clear its huge backlog of applications and get proper permits for new drivers. According to the Philippine Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board, only around ten per cent of some 30,000 Uber cars currently have permits, a situation which would create “an uneven playing field” for other transport services such as taxis, buses and jeepneys – which all require licenses – and “unduly challenge the limit of fair regulation,” the transportation regulator said.

However, Uber immediately lodged an appeal against the order and said its operations will continue until the issue is legally resolved.

The suspension led to an outcry of anger among Filipinos on social media who supported Uber’s decision to appeal. The ride-sharing app, together with Grab, is hugely popular in the Philippines and regarded by its users as more reliable and competitive than the country’s outdated and notoriously shoddy public transport services and overcharging taxi drivers.

But President Rodrigo Duterte’s spokesman Ernesto Abella said a balance must be struck “between innovation and laws the regulator has to implement as part of its administrative function”.

Uber is already facing regulatory scrutiny in several Asian markets, including in South Korea and Japan. The firm said last month it is suspending its services in Macau. There have also some recent problems with unsafe cars in Singapore, and in countries such as Thailand Uber’s regulatory stance remains opaque and Uber drivers are frequently exposed to attacks from regular taxi drivers.

Furthermore, Uber faces continued pressure in Southeast Asia from competitors like Singapore’s Grab and lost out in China to local ride share service Didi Chuxing.

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