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Uber strips of its London license; sparks heated debates

by UNTV News   |   Posted on Monday, October 2nd, 2017

London’s Uber ban has sparked heated debates among the local residents and taxi drivers as the city’s regulator revoked its license, which expired on Saturday.

The Uber ban has upset some locals. More than 800,000 London residents have petitioned for the Uber service, as they have lost a choice for convenient commuting.

“It’s much much cheaper. It’s two-thirds much cheaper, because it is safe, and it is cheap, and it’s reliable,” said a London resident.

Despite the cheap price, safety problem is often neglected by the citizens. Moreover, the popularity of Uber resulted in a competitive taxi market in London.

“No, it’s not safe. They don’t care about it. They just care about their cheap price,” said a taxi driver.

“They work in about 18 hours a day because there are so many of them, and there is no regulation. Some of the drivers even, I even talk to them sometimes, they are complaining. Uber drivers have complained and protested about Uber’s practices,” said Steve Hayes, a taxi driver.

The ban has affected around 40,000 registered Uber drivers in London, causing full-time drivers to lose income.

Globally, Uber has endured a tumultuous few months after a string of scandals involving allegations of bullying at the company.

The app has been forced to quit several countries including Denmark and Hungary and faced regulatory battles in multiple US states and countries around the world. — Reuters



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Uber officially stops PH operations

by UNTV News   |   Posted on Tuesday, April 17th, 2018


Uber posted a notice about when they will discontinue their application.

trong>MANILA, Philippines — Ride-hailing company Uber on Monday officially halted its operations in the country following the issuance of a cease and desist order by the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board.

The LTFRB decided to stop the transport network company’s (TNC) operations in consideration to the firm’s drivers, operators and patrons.

“We cannot leave the riders hanging knowing that base sa sinabi ng UBER na yung mga tao nila 40 of them ay naka garden leave na and they could not ensure kung meron pang incentive ang mga TNVS,” LTRFB Board member Atty. Aileen Lizada said.

(We cannot leave the riders hanging knowing that, based on what UBER said, that their staff, 40 of them, are on garden leave already and they could not ensure if there are still incentives in TNVS.)

Nevertheless, Uber management vowed to give incentives to its drivers for their previous rides prior to the cessation.

For its part, the Philippine Competition Commission (PCC) insisted that Uber should still continue its operations in the Philippines while it is still in review of the merger of Grab and Uber in Southeast Asia.

According to PCC Commissioner Stela Luz Quimbo, the two TNCs should remain independent until there is assurance that there will be no monopoly of services in the country as a result of the acquisition deal.

PCC’s review on the merger process of Uber and Grab is expected to be completed in October this year.

LTFRB, likewise, is reviewing the accreditation of two new TNCs applying for operation in the Philippines. — UNTV News & Rescue

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Singapore watchdog sets interim measures for Uber-Grab deal

by UNTV News   |   Posted on Friday, April 13th, 2018

FILE PHOTO: A view of Uber and Grab offices in Singapore March 26, 2018. REUTERS/Edgar Su/File Photo

SINGAPORE (Reuters) – Singapore’s competition watchdog on Friday outlined a set of interim measures for ride-hailing firms Grab and Uber Technologies to ensure an open market as it continued its investigation into their merger in the city-state.

The Competition and Consumer Commission of Singapore (CCCS) said the measures include preventing Grab from taking over operational data from Uber to enhance its market position, adding that Uber would continue to operate in Singapore until May 7 to smoothen the transition.

Uber sold its Southeast Asian business to bigger local rival Grab, marking the U.S. company’s second retreat from an Asian market. Uber gets a 27.5 percent stake in Grab, which was last valued at $6 billion after a financing round in July.

“We trust that the CCCS’ review takes into account a dynamic industry that is constantly evolving, highly competitive, and being disrupted by technology and new services,” said Lim Kell Jay, head of Grab Singapore.

Other measures include ensuring that drivers are not subjected to exclusivity obligations and making sure both the ride-hailing companies maintain their pre-merger pricing and commission levels.

The watchdog also requires Grab to cease its exclusivity arrangements with all taxi fleets in Singapore, subject to provisions.

The Singapore-based company may, however, receive personal data of drivers, riders and merchants who choose to shift to the Grab platform, the CCCS said in a statement.

The interim measures are necessary because the two firms are each other’s closest competitors and have a significant combined market share, the competition watchdog said, adding that barriers to entry were likely to be high.

“In particular, many drivers are constrained by exclusivity arrangements such that they can only drive for one ride-hailing platform. This makes it difficult for a new ride-hailing platform to attract drivers,” it said.

Any new entrant in the ride-hailing business would likely have to make significant investments to attract passengers and drivers, and to compete with the existing player, added the agency, which began its probe last month.

Both companies should also ensure that drivers who rent a vehicle from Uber’s car leasing company are free to drive for any ride-hailing platform.

Unless revoked by the agency, the order will be in place until the investigation is completed or concerns over the deal are resolved.

Singapore’s Land Transport Authority (LTA) said on Friday that CCCS’ measures on the removal of exclusivity obligations and impediments to market contestability will further promote market competition in the point-to-point transport sector.

The LTA was in the process of reviewing the broader regulatory framework for the industry, including studying how to structure the sector and license private hire car booking service operators, it added.

The Philippines’ anti-trust agency had also ordered Uber to delay its shutdown.

Lawyers and analysts had previously told Reuters that regulatory scrutiny could complicate Grab’s takeover of Uber’s business, but there is little the authorities can do to stop U.S. firm from simply exiting the region.

Reporting by Aradhana Aravindan and John Geddie, Editing by Sherry Jacob-Phillips

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LTFRB: Continued Uber ops may put passenger safety at risk

by UNTV News   |   Posted on Tuesday, April 10th, 2018


FILE: A passenger tries to book a ride using an Uber app

MANILA, Philippines — Uber rider, Janine used to be able to book an Uber ride within five minutes.

But after the Grab-Uber acquisition deal, booking a ride has been difficult, especially last Monday when Uber was scheduled to cease operations.

“Actually, mas preferred kong mag-Uber pero kasi sobrang hirap mag-book ngayon kaya nag-Grab ako kahit mahal,” said the Uber rider.

(Actually, I prefer taking Uber but booking has been really difficult lately so I went with Grab even though it’s more expensive.)

But according to the Philippine Competition Commission (PCC), Uber must continue their operation until they finish their motu propio investigation over the said deal.

This includes maintaining the mobile app operational, providing service for partner drivers and riders and giving cash incentives and other benefits.

PCC said that they can issue a resolution in the investigation not more than 195 days.

If Grab and Uber will violate the conditions, they may face fines not exceeding P2 million every day until they comply with the PCC conditions.

“Ultimately, kung malaman po namin na hindi sila compliant one possibility po is they will be cited in contempt at meron pong fines, there are daily fines,” said PCC Commissioner Stella Quimbo.

(Ultimately, if we find out that they are not compliant, one possibility is, they will be cited in contempt and charged with fines. There are daily fines.)

But according to the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB), passenger safety is at risk if Uber will continue their operations.

“Kung may mga road crashes po, may nga complaint, sino ang sasagot sa side ng Uber? Sino ang aming i-summon if ever mayroon pa kaming hearing,” said LTFRB board member Atty. Aileen Lizada.

(In case of road crashes and complaints, who will answer for Uber? Who will we summon if ever we have another hearing?)

The Uber office is already occupied by Grab employees.

Uber said they don’t have the capacity to operate in the Philippines beyond their April 8 deadline because they don’t have any more employees in their satellite offices.

Grab stands firm that the acquisition deal will continue as the deal was perfected outside the country.

Currently, Grab supports the funding of the Uber app to comply with the PCC’s order, but insisted that they will not be liable if something happens to an Uber passenger.

“We are funding the app, meaning naka-on yung systems nila (it means their systems are on. We’re paying for these systems being on but not the manpower behind it,” said Grab PH country head Brian Cu.

To maintain healthy competition, Grab encouraged LTFRB to immediately approve the pending application of four transport network companies (TNCs) to operate in the country. — Mon Jocson | UNTV News & Rescue

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