Mobile car-sharing service Uber has found its newest ally on Monday, October 27 in the National Youth Commission (NYC), a branch under the Office of the President. In a statement, the NYC labeled the Land Transportation, Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) crackdown move on the service as "out-of-focus".
"Although we respect the regulations set by the LTFRB, the recent sting operations on Uber cars and drivers are out-of-focus," said NYC Chairperson Gio Tingson.
Uber is a car-sharing service which allows mobile users to request for private vehicles through an app, was recently subject to sting operations by the regulatory board. A Toyota Fortuner apprehended last Thursday, was fined PhP 200,000 and impounded under the new DOTC JAO-2014-01 (Joint Administrative Order) which enforced stricter penalties on both private and public vehicles. The SUV was being charged for a colorum violation, as the LTFRB accused it as a private vehicle operating as a PUV without its authority.
Uber however argued that it is not a transportation provider, but instead a technology company. An argument the company has continually used in cities it has encountered problems in; including San Francisco, where the service originated from.
Tingson pointed the LTFRB to the perennial problem of colorum PUVs like buses wherein 46% of the 10,000 units plying EDSA are said to be illegally operating. This is based on data from the Metro Manila Development Authority (MMDA).
The MMDA was the first agency to support the car-sharing service as it issued a statement suggesting that the LTFRB should instead find ways to assist services like Uber, following the crackdown incident.
The NYC also went on to cite the principles of carpooling and shared economy as a means to encourage young people to help ease of traffic with the use of similar services.
Tingson also further noted the issue of safety in light of the recent spate of incidents involving crimes committed by taxi drivers who victimize their passengers.
"Commuters, composed of young people going to school or their workplace, no longer feel safe in our Metro Manila roads. This is made worse by colorum vehicles that fare in road accidents," he added.