UK audit firm to monitor Grab’s ops

October 12, 2018

The Philippine Competition Commission (PCC) has selected United Kingdom-based auditing firm, Smith & Williamson, to monitor the operations of ridesharing firm Grab Philippines.

The commission said Smith & Williamson will keep track for a period of one year Grab’s compliance with the various commitments it has pledged, following the approval of the company’s acquisition of the operations of its erstwhile rival Uber last August.

“It is one thing to pledge and another thing to carry out the voluntary commitments that bind Grab Philippines to address the competition concerns. Smith & Williamson, as the independent monitoring group, will serve as our eyes and ears on the ground. Their reports or recommendations will be evaluated, but PCC will still ultimately determine any possible transgressions,” PCC Chairman Arsenio Balisacan said in a statement Wednesday.

Among the commitments expressed by Grab to the PCC is improving the quality of its service, including response time to rider complaints.

Grab fares shall not have an extraordinary deviation from the minimum allowed fares, which are set by the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board.

The deviation should not be more than 22 percent of the fares before the acquisition of Uber, according to the PCC.

The firm likewise assured that it will provide a breakdown on fares on electronic receipts to its riders. The receipts will include the distance, fare surges, discounts, promo reduction, and per-minute waiting charge.

Grab will also remove the “see destination” feature for drivers with low ride acceptance rate.

It will not introduce policies that will result in drivers and operators being exclusive to Grab, to allow them to register with other ridesharing companies through a multi-homing scheme.

The commission vowed that it will monitor any breach of the conditions that will subject Grab to fines of up to PHP2 million per breach or unwinding of the transaction.

Violations or arrangements intended to circumvent the application of the commitments by parties may likewise result in appropriate penalties.

For its part, Grab said it will cooperate with Smith & Williamson, as the auditing firm has a reputation of being fair and independent.

“We are looking forward to collaborating with them as we intend to fully conform with and fulfill the voluntary commitments we have submitted to the PCC for the entire duration of the agreed compliance period,” the company said in a statement.