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JoyRide rejects LTFRB allegation of ‘excessive’ fares

JOYRIDE Ecommerce Technologies Corp. (JoyRide), which operates a four-wheel transport network vehicle service, rejected allegations that it was charging fares beyond the approved fare structure set by the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB).

“JoyRide respectfully takes exception to the allegations in the LTFRB statement dated June 2, 2022 that ‘it was found that JoyRide was charging P1,000 representing one-way ride due to what is called ‘Priority Boarding Fee,’” JoyRide Senior Vice-President for Corporate Affairs Jose Emmanuel M. Eala said in a statement on Thursday.

Mr. Eala issued the statement in response to a press release issued by the transport regulator early Thursday, which was then revised in the afternoon to not single out JoyRide.

“So as not to single out JoyRide, in the new PR (press release), pinangalanan na lahat ng TNCs (transport network companies) na sinulatan ng warning versus excessive fares (all TNCs that were warned for overcharging were named),” LTFRB Executive Director Maria Kristina E. Cassion told reporters by Viber chat.

In its earlier statement, the LTFRB said that it had sent a letter to JoyRide, directing it “to submit their written explanation to the Board why their accreditation as TNC should not be suspended and/or revoked within 10 days from receipt of the show cause order.” The letter was dated May 24, 2022, the agency said.

In its revised news release in the afternoon, the agency said TNCs “have been exacting excessive fares beyond the fare structure for transport network vehicle service (TNVS) set by the Board under Memorandum Circular No. 2019-036.”

The transport regulator said the fares for the TNVS are supposed to be P40 at flag down for sedan-type TNVS, with additional charges of P15 per kilometer and P2 per minute waiting time.

Meanwhile, for premium AUV/SUVs, the flag down rate is P50 plus P18 per kilometer and P2 per minute of waiting time. Hatchback or sub-compact TNVS charge P30 at flag down, P13 per kilometer and P2 per minute waiting time.

“Based on an anonymous complaint submitted to the LTFRB, it was found that a TNC was charging as much as P1,000 representing one-way ride due to what is called ‘Priority Boarding Fee.’  The LTFRB is currently investigating the said complaint,” the regulator said.

“However, the agency saw it fit to write all TNCs warning them against the imposition of excessive fares contrary to current guidelines on TNVS fares. On May 24, 2022, the LTFRB wrote warning letters to E-pick Me Up, Ipara, JoyRide, My Taxi PH (Grab), and Cloud Panda, who are all accredited TNCs,” it added.

JoyRide’s Mr. Eala welcomed the reminder from the LTFRB with regard to the fare regulations.

“In this regard, JoyRide reiterates that its fare structure is 100% compliant with relevant LTFRB Memoranda and is fully reflected and disclosed in our app. JoyRide is cognizant of the need to be a responsible player in the 4-wheel ride-hailing space and is such, committed in (complying with) the regulations imposed by our regulator,” he said.

He also said that the company submitted on May 27 its clarification, stating that “JoyRide is compliant with the fare structure set by the LTFRB guidelines.”

“If the passenger were to book his/her ride through our app, in full transparency, it will compute a rate based on a base fare, distance, and time which follows the LTFRB guidelines,” Mr. Eala noted, citing the letter.

“Our clarification was subsequently acknowledged by the LTFRB through e-mail on May 30, 2022. No other communication or decision or any so-called findings were sent to JoyRide after that. As such, the allegations in the latest statement of the LTFRB dated June 2, 2022 shared to us by the media comes as a complete surprise to us.”

Mr. Eala said a priority fee is an “optional fee” that customers can freely add to the total fare upon booking.

“It is an industry practice in case a customer would like to tip or incentivize a driver-partner in advance.” — Arjay L. Balinbin

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