Uber pays nearly $10 million to get back on the road

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Uber pays nearly  million to get back on the road
Uber is back on the road – but at a heavy price

Uber is now back on the road after it paid out nearly $10 million in fines and driver compensation.

The lifting of the suspension was announced by the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) today (Tuesday, August 29) after a 190 million peso fine was paid.

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As well as the fine, Uber was also made to pay its drivers during the 15-day shutdown, which cost the company another 300 million pesos.

Uber was supposed to serve a month-long suspension, ending on September 15, for defying the LTFRB’s order not to accept and accredit new drivers into its platform.

The transportation agency last year banned new applications for ride-sharing services, such as Uber and Grab, as it studied how to ‘regulate’ the growing industry.

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Regulators said that while Grab followed the directive, Uber “openly defied” it.

The ride-sharing app’s suspension led to a social media firestorm with commuters criticising the government for taking away a vital service.

The app won a franchise to operate in the Philippines in 2015 and now has about 66,000 drivers.

‘Commuter safety’

The transportation agency acknowledged the public backlash it received, but insisted it was ensuring commuter safety.

“This is a painful decision. This is not a popular decision but as the regulatory body we will take the brunt. It is part of our job,” transportation agency spokeswoman Aileen Lizada told reporters.

On Friday, the LTFRB agreed to convert Uber’s penalty into a fine, but noted that this should be “commensurate to the penalty of suspension”.

The LTFRB arrived at the 190-million fine based on the number of days that Uber should be suspended “in relation to the daily average income” of the company, which is up to 10 million pesos per day.

“We have complied with the requirements outlined by the regulators, and are grateful for the opportunity to serve the Philippines again,” Uber Philippines spokeswoman Catherine Avelino said.

Uber, along with other ride-sharing apps such as Grab, have proved a hit in the Philippines, where taxi drivers are notorious for being ‘picky’ and overcharging customers.

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