THE Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) justified its move to reduce taxi fares amid protests by taxi drivers.
On Wednesday, around 150 protesters gathered at the LTFRB compound, raising their concerns on the fare reduction that will be implemented beginning March 19.
However, the regulatory body said that the fare reduction was carefully assessed based on transport operation costs.
The LTFRB last week announced that the new flag down rate for regular taxis will be reduced to P30 from P40. The succeeding rate every 300 meters is set at P3.50. This will be applicable nationwide except in the Cordillera Administrative Region (CAR).
For airport taxis, the permanent flag down rate is set at P60 for the first 500 meters and P4 for succeeding 500 meters, and P4 for the waiting time per 90 seconds.
Taxi groups said that the fare reduction will considerably cut their profit by more or less P1,300 a day, especially now that fuel prices have increased.
The Stop and Go party-list group asked the LTFRB to bring back the P40 flagdown, and increase the waiting time rate to P5.50 per 120 seconds.
The LTFRB’s fare reduction order reduced the running time rate, which is set at P3.50, by increasing the distance it covers from 300 meters to 500 meters.
The agency stood firm on its directive, saying that it studied the reduction accordingly and found it reasonable to bring down fare rates.
“Prayoridad ng pamahalaan natin ang kapakanan ng ating mga mamamayan. Dahil dito, masusing pinagaralan ng LTFRB na makatuwirang bawasan ang singil-pamasahe sa taxi at airport taxis sa buong bansa nang naaayon sa galaw ng gastusin sa transportasyon,” ["The welfare of our citizens is a priority of the government. Because of this, the LTFRB carefully studied carrying out a reasonable reduction of the fares of taxis and airport taxis throughout the country in accordance with transport costs”], LTFRB Chairman Winston Ginez said in a statement posted on a social media platform.
“Implementation of the new flagdown rate will proceed on March 19,” he said.