Open Letter to President Duterte: Traffic Congestion is Our Shared Enemy

July 26, 2016 / Manila

Uber is a #PartnerforChange in President Duterte’s #100daychallenge

Dear President Duterte,

In your State of the Nation address, you zeroed in on solving traffic as one of your highest priorities. Here at Uber, we agree, and want to be part of your #100DayChallenge against our shared enemy: Traffic Congestion.

Traffic congestion is a complicated problem, and there’s no single solution. But thanks to technology, Uber can give millions of riders in Metro Manila a viable alternative to private vehicle ownership, and encourage those who have private vehicles to share them, right now, without any additional cost to taxpayers or the government.

This may sound counterintuitive, but we can actually cut congestion by rethinking the way we use cars. According to the Land Transportation Office, there were more than 7 million private cars registered in the Philippines in 2014, 1.4 million which were newly added to the road. Instead of having millions of trips happening with one person behind each wheel, what if we could simply get more people into fewer cars?

Over 300,000 riders rely on our service to get around the city. In a recent rider survey in Metro Manila, 79% of riders had eliminated or reduced usage of their personal vehicles because of Uber.

In order to get “More People into Fewer Cars,” we launched two new ridesharing products in 2016: uberHOP, which gets up to 6 riders from key business districts into a single car during rush hours, and uberPOOL, which lets up to 4 riders heading in the same direction share a single trip for a lower cost.

If uberHOP riders had traveled separately, they would have added more than 96,000 kilometers to the road–equivalent to driving the entire length of the EDSA 4,000 times. They would have also consumed over 7,700 liters of gas, and emitted over 18 metric tons of carbon dioxide.

uberPOOL, launched just 40 days ago, is still in its infancy, but has already saved about 75,000 car-trips on the road by cutting more than 150,000 trips in half through real-time matching of riders going towards the same destination in one car.

This model works, but outdated rules and complicated licensing requirements deter carpooling by making it too hard to share a ride, effectively forcing citizens into individual car ownership–at a huge public cost.

Uber has always been committed to working towards compliance in partnership with the government, as demonstrated by the submission of more than 23,000 TNVS applications since regulations were passed last year. On average, it has taken 106.82 days to receive a provisional authority. Only 31 certificates of public convenience have been issued to date. Which is why yesterday’s commitment to shortening processing times for applications is so important for addressing congestion as well as creating more economic opportunities for Filipinos.

We are fully committed to working with the LTFRB to find a better solution, but suspending new TNVS applications is at odds with the leadership position the Philippines has taken on ridesharing and goes against the spirit of the world’s first nationwide ridesharing regulations. It hurts everyday Filipinos and their families from making extra income while sharing their car; it hurts everyday Filipino commuters who waste 4 hours a day on average in traffic. And it hampers the new administration’s ability to lead by example in embracing technology to tackle a really hard problem: our common enemy of traffic congestion.

Let’s work together on this #100daychallenge to keep Manila moving.

Uber Philippines

#WhyWeUber #PartnerforChange