A few days ago, we published a story about u-Hop, a promising new concept that aims to offer commuters a more convenient mass-transport alternative in the form of premium shuttles. Well, if any of you guys are looking forward to taking a u-Hop shuttle to work, you're going to have to wait a little longer.
Apparently, u-Hop's current status is still pretty much up in the air after the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board "respectfully recommended" to DOTC chief Joseph Abaya a further review of the service, as well as the formulation of a new policy with which to regulate TNCs looking to operate under a shuttle service model.
It seems that one of the main issues raised by the LTFRB board members is the assignment of service operators under certain service areas inside Metro Manila, which according to them is tantamount to assigning a fixed route--something prohibited under Transportation Network Vehicle Services.
The LTFRB went to Twitter to announce that u-Hop had been denied of its accreditation. But then u-Hop claimed that the tweet was misleading, and announced that they would be filing a lawsuit against the LTFRB, citing possible criminal and administrative complaints. Below is the tweet from the LTFRB:
Breaking News: LTFRB denies U-HOP's application as Transportation Network Company (TNC). pic.twitter.com/gMNwBlzPPq— LTFRB_CHAIRMAN (@LTFRB_Chairman) October 23, 2015
And here is u-Hop's Facebook post:
We also received an e-mail from u-Hop, describing the process it had gone through to try and obtain its accreditation. We have yet to confirm the accuracy of the information they provided. Below is the alleged timeline of events, according to said e-mail (in italics):
* Kami po ay pormal na nagprisinta ng aming business model kay LTFRB chairman Winston Ginez noong Hulyo 14, taong kasalukuyan.
* Nang sumunod na araw, o noong Hulyo 15, naghain kami ng aplikasyon para maging isang Transportation Network Company. Pero sa hindi malamang dahilan ay hindi ito tinanggap ng LTFRB.
* Noong Agosto 13, kay DOTC secretary Joseph Abaya naman namin ipinaliwanag ang konsepto ng u-Hop. Nagustuhan ni Secretary Abaya ang aming business model.
* Noong Setyembre 2, binisita ni LTFRB executive director Atty. Roberto Cabrera ang headquarters ng u-Hop. Si Atty. Cabrera rin ang pinuno ng Accreditation Committee ng LTFRB.
* Noong Setyembre 7, inaprubahan ng LTFRB Accreditation Committee ang aming aplikasyon.
* Noon namang Setyembre 24, pinirmahan na rin ni Board Member Ariel Inton ang aming accreditation. Pero pagkatapos noon, tila tinulugan na ng ibang opisyal ng LTFRB ang aming aplikasyon. Bakit kaya?
Yikes. It looks like things are beginning to get ugly. But if the DOTC and the LTFRB stay true to the memorandum, a new policy for TNC shuttle services could already be in the works, which means we might still see u-Hop ferrying passengers in the near future.