Philippines suspends Uber, Grab vehicle registrations as backlog mounts

The Philippines has stopped accepting applications for new ride-sharing vehicles of Uber and Grab.
The Philippines has stopped accepting applications for new ride-sharing vehicles of Uber and Grab. PHOTO: GRAB

MANILA (REUTERS) - The Philippines has stopped accepting applications for new ride-sharing vehicles of Uber and Grab due to a backlog amid a government review of its policies on fare spikes, a senior official said on Friday (July 22).

The South-east Asian nation was the first country to regulate app-based car-hailing operations after coming out with rules last year.

"It's just the new applications that we have to suspend so we don't have a huge amount of backlog," said Ms Cherie Mercado, spokesman of the transportation department.

Applications have ballooned to record highs, with 29,000 pending, 23,000 of which were for Uber and the rest divided between Grab and u-Hop, she said.

She said the suspension was indefinite and it was not clear what changes would be required to reverse it.

Uber and Grab officials were not immediately available for comment.

"We will also review the fare scheme, the surge pricing,"she said, referring to the fluctuating fare charges which have caused friction as conventional taxis are not allowed to apply them.

The Philippines is South-east Asia's third fastest growing market for automobiles. The country's motor vehicle sales jumped 25.4 per cent in January to May, next only to Singapore's 76.8 per cent uptick and Vietnam's 36.6 per cent climb, data from the Asean Automotive Federation showed.