TAXI drivers are known to have victimized hapless passengers by overcharging them. That is why it is such a great relief to be in a taxi that smells good, is clean and well kept.
That’s also why Uber has become so popular.
The latest scary news is about taxi drivers robbing passengers, and behaving like the usual hold-uppers of our metropolis. Worse is news of taxi drivers stabbing, shooting, and raping their passengers.
Faced with those reports of abusive and criminal taxi drivers in the media and the social networking sites, we have no news that the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) and the Philippine National Police (PNP) are doing anything special to prevent these new surge of taxi-driver menace.
The LTFRB is to be lauded for launching “Oplan Isnabero” last week– a program to crack down on taxi drivers who choose their fare or will only take passengers who agree to pay a large overcharge. But what the public has seen so far is a half-hearted effort to carry out this anti-Isnabero program. If the LTFRB really wishes to stop this greedy and inconsiderate practice, it would have easily netted more than a hundred taxi drivers in one day alone.
Apprehending abusive and greedy isnabero taxi drivers is not rocket science. In fact, the solutions are very simple and do not need the mobilization of a fully-armed division from the Armed Forces of the Philippines. What is simply needed is political will, and sensitivity on the part of the officials of the LTFRB and PNP.
Firstly, the LTFRB and PNP can jointly field up to a hundred plainclothes personnel to pose as taxi-riding passengers during the rush hours. The plainclothes agents may also pose as passengers at the taxi-waiting stands at malls, where the line for taxis can stretch up to a couple of hundred meters at mall closing times. As to why the LTFRB and PNP have not thought of fielding plainclothes personnel is also not so difficult to answer. It’s not that police and LTFRB personnel are afraid of ending up as victims of criminal taxi drivers. It is more like they are sympathetic or friendly to the tax drivers because they have a special relationship with the operators.
Another simple measure that the LTFRB can take is to collaborate with the Land Transportation Office (LTO) to crack the whip on abusive and criminal taxi drivers by revoking their licenses. And suspending the fleets’ permit to operate. But so far, the LTFRB has not reported to the media the number of taxi driver whose licenses to drive have been revoked by the LTO. This is very disturbing because it means abusive taxi drivers who get apprehended can continue driving taxis later on and terrorize the riding public again.
Then one asks, why has this simple measure of revoking the licenses of abusive taxi drivers not been done in a concerted effort of the LTFRB and the LTO?
As for taxi operators, the least they can do is come up with a “black list” of taxi drivers who have been involved in crimes or are overcharging or selecting passengers. By coming up with a blacklist of abusive taxi drivers, taxi operators can easily identify those who they should not hire or employ as drivers.
Letting abusive taxi drivers who have been identified by the news media and the social networking sites get away with their crimes not only harms the reputation of honest taxi drivers. It also is bad news about the Philippines abroad, refuting the claim that “it is more fun in the Philippines.”
Thank God there are still no recent reports of taxi drivers committing crimes against foreign tourists. Or have such events just gone unreported?
If the LTFRB and PNP cannot apprehend and mete out the proper punishment against abusive taxi drivers despite many reports in media and social networking sites, how can the public expect government so resolve bigger crimes?