• Colorum Uber taxi operators have ‘padrino’ at Malacañang

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    A partylist representative made sense in calling for a congressional inquiry into the operations of colorum “taxicabs” using the Uber online application.

    Unfortunately, Kabataan Partylist Rep. Terry Ridon’s resolution has been ignored by the inept House committee on transportation.

    Deceptively disguised as “ride-sharing,” Uber taxi services was uncovered when some legitimate taxi operators complained to the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) a few weeks back.

    Acting on the complaint, the LTFRB mounted operations against “Uber partners” plying Metro Manila routes.

    But not long after the anti-Uber drive took off, the LTFRB officials were unceremoniously summoned to Malacañang, only to find out that the local Uber outfit have well-placed connections in the Palace.

    Uber has become a popular taxicab service in the US, particularly in San Francisco, LA and New York cities, and other major cities abroad.

    It is gaining a fast-increasing patronage in Metro Manila, as well, due to the convenience it offers to commuters.

    One only needs to place, using smartphone or handy computer, an online request for a ride with Uber which dispatches the nearest Uber unit available to pick up the passenger.

    So, one does not have to go down the street and wait to chance upon a passing taxicab.

    Another come-on with Uber service is the fact that this clandestine public transport uses private cars, usually black sedans, or sport utility vehicles (SUVs).

    It comes more like a chauffeur service which naturally gives the passenger the VIP treatment.

    But, remember this is an illegal transport service which entails serious pitfalls, aside from being unfair to legitimate taxicab operators.

    Many of us know these legitimate operators shell out unbelievable amount of money just to secure a taxi or jeepney franchise.

    Well, one important issue about colorum public transport is the matter of liability.

    We’ve seen all too often the involvement of colorum buses in tragic road accidents.

    The trouble with illegal public transport vehicles is always the likelihood that these units have not passed the necessary tests for road worthiness.

    No matter how “cool” the Uber cars may be, there is no assurance that every one of them is in a condition suited for public transport.

    Now, there’s also the question of integrity and accountability on the part of the “Uber partner” who gives the passenger the ride.

    Note that a Uber partner-driver can be any motorist who does not have any kind of accreditation and accountability as a taxicab driver.

    The LTFRB now requires all Metro Manila operators to register their authorized drivers.

    Unlike legitimate cabbies, motorists using Uber to solicit passengers do not even have any operator-issued IDs displayed in their car.

    Meanwhile, Uber taxicab operations have been banned in India after one unregistered Uber taxi driver was arrested for having sexually assaulted a lady executive engaged in tax consultancy business in New Delhi recently.

    In Thailand, Uber taxicab services have also been banned last week.

    But, such has not happened in this country despite the mounting complaints of legitimate taxicab drivers and operators.

    Local Uber company representatives, along with their colorum partners, were hailed at Malacañang Palace like VIPs.

    Some Palace bigwigs and transport summoned communications Secretary Jun Abaya and LTFRB officials and were made to “dialog” with the Uber people and Uber partners.

    Uber representatives readily absolved themselves by pointing out that the company only provide an online “request tool for ride-sharing.”

    Now Uber charges the passenger’s credit card for the ride, for a minimum base pay of P90 and additional P12.10 per minute or P12.92 per kilometer.

    Passengers who cancel their bookings are obliged to pay P100.

    Passengers in Manila are said to have the option to book a Mitsubishi Montero, a Ford Everest or a Toyota Fortuner, depending on their availability at the time of booking.

    To cut the story short, the colorum public transport operators prevailed.

    LTFRB and Land Transportation Office (LTO) officials came out of the meeting scratching their heads.

    These lawyers were told to “change or modify the LTFRB rules and regulations” to accommodate the Uber public transport service and, just like that, they get the permit to ply the Metro Manila routes as vehicles “for hire.”

    Abaya, of course, abided by the Malacañang order, saying the use of modern technology like the Uber app must be encouraged in the transport sector.

    And pending clear LTFRB authorization, the illegal Uber taxicab operations continue, thanks to the Uber’s Malacañang backers.

    Apparently, LTFRB’s shortlived Uber crackdown has crashed into one tough Palace wall.

    And, I doubt if the inutile Congress would do anything about it.

    etulfo2011@yahoo.com

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    8 Comments

    1. Uber is safe. Uber is convenient. Most of all drivers are all courteous and well mannered. Thanks to Uber for providing a very well managed system that caters to commuters like me..my lola and my wife. Maybe you have not ridden a taxi cab yet or tried this service so the nerve you compare the two – apples vs oranges. God bless you Mr. Tulfo.

    2. Ernesto Dela Cruz on

      Leave uber alone. Legalize it so that taxes could be levied against its earnings. Also, limit the uber cars to those 3 years old vehicles or less. Don’t include 4-year old cars and older.

    3. Mr. Tulfo please name names. Otherwise, you are just mouthing off bullshit. Are you scared? If you keep your readers guessing on every expose you publish, then you are worth nothing. Anybody can do it. I can also make expose of anything but would not mention any names to back up my statements. That makes a coward. Oh what a waste!!!! Be man enough to complete you expose by naming names and let the shit hit the fan!!!!

    4. I was a taxi drive in the uk for 12 years & that system that uber uses we use on our taxis. We have used it for years & its so simple its called giveing a proper service to your customers. They phone the taxi office & book a taxi, they can book it for immediately or for any time. So then if the address is covered by a taxi rank the 1st cad is despatched to do the job. If no cabs are on rank there the job is called & the nearest taxi to there will call on it & get given the job. So now we know which driver has done which job which also helps police our taxi drivers. But as is always the case in the philippines something that is so easy in other countries is made so complicated in this country. Send your officials to other countries to see how things are done & do them the same here, dont think you know better as you dont & it shows almost every day in everything.

    5. There is nothing wrong with using technology to advance economy and business. If a country does not adapt to changes like Uber in transportation, our economy will stand still while other countries which are technology conscious will always move forward. Now regarding the Malakanyan connection of UBer operations in the Philippines, the author, Mr. Tulfo should not hide the name or names he knows who have a straight line to PNoy. Tulfo will do the public a big favor.

    6. UBER is safer than taking a taxi who will rob or charge you more and make you wait for a long time and worst when it’s raining, they are not there! Leave UBER alone and more power to technology and convenience!

    7. See there! When it comes to palakasan sa Malacanang bigwigs, no one can beat it! The feeling of entitlement continues. Ano kaya ang mangyayari kung magsimula na ang ASEAN implementation? More corruption? More collusion? More intrigues? Grabe! We need the Master Teacher Jesus Christ in our government dealings. Social Justice must be observed. How I wish Pope Francis would really know and observe for himself what reforms are needed in our Catholic country that affects governance of the SOUL and the human government affairs.