LTFRB accredits 2 new TNCs to rival Grab

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, April 19) — Grab will have more competition by May as the Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) accredited two new ride-hailing apps on Wednesday.

Transport network companies (TNCs) Hype and HirNa were given the go signal to operate in the country for two years, LTFRB Board Member Aileen Lizada confirmed to CNN Philippines on Thursday.

Hype has a similar business model as Grab, while HirNa is a taxi-hailing app, which will be first rolled out in Davao City. Lizada also said u-Hop, which initially offered shuttle services, is now operating as a TNC.

"Meron tayong U-Hop, Grab, Hype, and HirNa. Apat ang TNC: 3 for TNVS and isa for taxis," Lizada said.

Hype will be available to the public as soon as it is launched on May 26, said Chief Operating Officer Jen Silan.

Hype, an exclusively local company, said the ride-hailing app can be used without an internet connection because it allows passengers to book a ride through text.

"SMS booking or texting is much cheaper. So we want to address that and cater to those other classes," Silan said on Thursday.

Silan said around 30, 000 drivers have expressed interest in signing up on their platform, but the accreditation process will officially begin next week.

She added drivers on Hype can earn additional income because they will be putting digital signs inside the vehicles for advertisements. The income from the ads will be split between Hype and the drivers, Silan said.

Hype also assured passengers it will have cheaper fares as compared to Grab since they do not have a per-minute charge.

LTFRB met with accredited and applying TNCs on Thursday to discuss their fare structures amid the controversy surrounding Grab Philippines' alleged undisclosed P2/minute charge.

"One of the reasons why we have this meeting is precisely to upgrade the service insofar as the TNVS denomination is concerned," LTFRB Chairman Martin Delgra said.

Representatives from Grab, HirNa, Hype, u-Hop, applying TNCs GoLag and TNC Owto, and taxi-hailing service MiCab attended the meeting with LTFRB.