LTFRB hits back at 'premium taxi' bashers

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The LTFRB said that the goal of rolling out the premium taxi is to provide alternative taxi transport to more discerning and higher-end taxi passengers.

Metro Manila (CNN Philippines) — The Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) responded on Thursday (August 13) to the allegations it is being unreasonable to app-based transportation services Uber and GrabCar.

"The allegation that Premium Taxi was created to compete with Uber and GrabCar is without basis," it said via Twitter posts.

The statement was issued hours after the news spread that the LTFRB had already drafted guidelines for the operations a premium taxi service, a new classification created by the Department of Transportation and Communications (DOTC).

Related: LTFRB drafts guidelines for premium taxi operation

The LTFRB insisted that the premium taxis would be more high end than those transportation services currently operating since only sedans with engine displacement of 2,000 cc or higher would be allowed to operate.

No SUVs, AUVs, and vans would be accepted. The cars acceptable are Toyota Altis 2.0, Toyota Camry, Benz, and the like.

The LTFRB even set the Philippines' neighbors in the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) as examples as to why the government should allow a premium taxi service.

"It is high time that we offer the same kind of high quality and modern taxis to our people," it said.

The LTFRB defended its condition that a premium taxi operator should have at least 20 units in its fleet.

"To ensure that only financially-capable operators will be granted franchise," it said.

It further listed the difference of the premium taxi to that of other app-based transportation providers, saying that premium taxis will have taxi meters and top lights identifying it as a "Premium Taxi."

The premium taxi can also pick up passengers through street hail, unlike Uber and GrabCar that can only be booked through a smartphone application.

It added that unlike Uber and GrabCar, premium taxis will sport a uniform color, which is black, and will have yellow plates.

The LTFRB said that the goal of rolling out the premium taxi would be to provide alternative taxi transport to more discerning and higher-end taxi passengers who are willing and ready to pay a higher fare for a better service.

LTFRB on Uber, GrabCar crackdown

It clarified that both the LTFRB and the DOTC "do not and will not put Uber or GrabCar out of business."

It said that it simply want Uber and GrabCar to apply for and be granted with franchise by complying with the Department Order and the memorandum circulars that were issued three months ago.

The agency earlier said that it will crackdown Uber, GrabCar, and other app-based and online-ride sharing service providers if they fail to secure a franchise before August 21.