SENATOR Grace Poe expressed support to the proposal of taxi operators for the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) to conduct an automatic review of taxi fare every 2 years.
Bong Suntay, president of the Philippine National Taxi Operators Association, complained that the taxi fare in the country has was “8 years old” and would need to be updated regularly, taking into consideration inflation.
“I agree. In fact it must be automatic, naka-peg sa inflation,” said Poe, chairman of committee on public services, who conducted a public hearing on the issues raised by LTFRB and taxi operators against transport network vehicle service (TNVS) such as Uber and Grab.
The current flagdown taxi rate is P40 with additional P3.50 for every kilometer. “We know, as with any normal person, income has a direct connection to individual behavior and action. Our ability to change the vehicle to new one is limited by the taxi fare. And taxi fare in the Philippines has been kept very low,” Suntay said.
He added, “We actually have the lowest taxi fare in all of Asia. Our taxi fare is 8 years old. So, you just imagine. Cost of living has shot up. Inflation has shot up. Minimum wage has gone up. Taxi fare has been the same for the past 8 years. This has made more difficult for taxi drivers to earn a living.”
“Pag wala kang pera mas bugnutin ka. Mas mabilis kang mainis. Pag maliit kita mo naghahanap ka ng paraan to augment it. I’m not justifying the action of some of the drivers. What I’m saying is the reality that exists,” he said.
“Pag wala kang pera mas bugnutin ka. Mas mabilis kang mainis. Pag maliit kita mo naghahanap ka ng paraan to augment it. I’m not justifying the action of some of the drivers. What I’m saying is the reality that exists.”
(If you don’t have money, you become more irritable. You get annoyed easily. If you don’t earn much you’ll find ways to augment it.)
“If a taxi driver is stuck in traffic for an hour, the meter would only earn him P75 because our waiting time is P3.50 every 2 minutes. A driver who pays a boundary at P1,200 will need P60 an hour just to make for the boundary. This is the reason why there are taxi drivers who decline passengers during heavy traffic,” he added.
Poe said: “We complain when they don’t want to transport us during traffic. It’s because they don’t earn much when there’s traffic while we allow Grab and Uber to charge higher fare. So, it’s not fare.”
“The problem is, our (taxi) drivers have families. So, if you don’t give them equal treatment, they will be forced to commit illegal activities,” she said. BERNADETTE E. TAMAYO