No more Uber app in PH by second week of April

Following Grab’s announcement yesterday that it has acquired its competition, ride-hailing app Uber’s operations in Southeast Asia, the latter confirmed that it will no longer be available in the Philippines after April 8, Sunday.

This means that come the second week of April, passengers will not be able to book using the Uber app and must register for a Grab account if they don’t already have one.

“We want to share some news with you – Uber will be combining our operations with Grab to lead you in the next chapter of ridesharing in the Philippines and across Southeast Asia,” Uber said in an email to its users.

“What this means for you: we will be transitioning our services over to the Grab platform by April 8, 2018, so all requests after that date should be made from the Grab app. However, you can still use the Uber app in more than 80 countries around the world.”

While the change is big news all over the region, it is especially relevant in the Philippines where major cities like Manila always have bad traffic and don’t have reliable modes of public transportation.

Many rely on apps because taxis tend to be less safe or have drivers that impose unfair fees.

Earlier this month, taxis were under fire after Filipino American vlogger Haley Dasovich shared in a video how a driver refused to turn on the meter and lectured her for expecting to use it.

“If you want cheaper taxi, you take Grab next time,” said the driver, identified in reports as Frederick Cayanan.

Uber also hasn’t exactly been on the best terms with the Philippine government.

In August last year, the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB), the Philippine agency in charge of regulating public transportation, suspended Uber’s operations because it continued to accept new applications for drivers even after the LTFRB ordered it and Grab to stop accepting new drivers.

Other modes of transportation like jeepneys are also undergoing changes. The LTFRB is currently cracking down on old vehicles as part of its modernization program and plans to phase-out the jeepneys on the road and replace them with a modernized version.

Jeepney drivers and operators are not happy about this because they will have to shell out at least PHP1.4 million (US$26,814.44) to buy new vehicles. Transport groups have even gone on strike multiple times in the past months.

Just last week, the government suspended classes for two days because of a transport protest.

In its statement yesterday, Grab assured that there will be no fare changes. However, now that there’s only one ride-hailing app available, passengers won’t have any other option when prices surge during rush hour.

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