CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY , Philippines – The Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board-10 (LTFRB-10) said it is amenable to the proposal of transport groups and the city’s legislators to adjust the taxi fare in the region.
The agency, however, is open to a more practical approach should the LTFRB central office approves the taxi fare reduction now being proposed by the city’s drivers and operators.
Taxi drivers at present are following the LTFRB-approved fare of P40 flag-down rate in addition to the P2 per-minute and P13.50 per-kilometer charges.
Some of the taxi drivers and operators want the LTFRB to revert to the previous rate of P40 flag-down plus P3.50 per 300 meters and P3.50 every two minutes waiting time.
LTFRB-10 regional director Aminoden Guro said the reduction of taxi fare would depend on the decision of the agency’s board which will base its ruling on the petitions submitted by transport groups.
Once the new rate is decided and implemented, Guro said all taxi units will have to go through the process of having their meters recalibrated and resealed.
An operator has to pay at least P1,000 for the recalibration of the meter of a single taxi unit, he said, and operators with several taxis will have to shell out several thousands of pesos just for the reprogramming of their taxi’s meters.
The city has more than 2,000 taxi units servicing people living in the urban and suburban areas, and Guro said retuning their meters would take some time.
As this would put a burden on the operators, Guro said it would be a good idea to just implement a flat reduced rate to be deducted to the total fare, say, a P20 discount to the payment for taxis plying the downtown area or within the city’s five-kilometer radius.
The farther the taxi will go, he said, the bigger will be the markdown. For instance, taxis going to the Laguindingan airport from the city may give their passengers a discount of up to P100.
“It is a practical option for the taxi operators instead of spending thousands of pesos for the meter recalibration,” Guro said.
Councilor Teodulfo Lao Jr., who chairs the public utilities committee, said the city’s legislature has already filed a resolution asking the LTFRB to reduce the taxi fare.
Lao said he was prompted to file the resolution when both the riding public and taxi drivers have already complained since the new taxi fare took effect a few months ago.
He said passengers personally called him up and ask him to do something about the fare increase as they can no longer afford to take the taxi.
The drivers, in turn, have raised the issue of lesser earnings as there are now fewer passengers owing to the higher taxi rate.
“If the LTFRB listens to the clamor of the people and reduce the taxi fare, we will welcome it. It will be beneficial for everybody, not only for the taxi drivers and operators but also for the riding public,” Lao said in an interview.
Even just by removing the P2 per-minute waiting charge will be a big help to passengers, he added.
Since the price of petroleum products in the world market has gone down, Lao said the time is also right to implement the fare reduction.
For his part, Gilbert Andojar, 35, said he supports any effort to lower the taxi fare to entice people to ride taxis once again.
Andojar, a taxi driver for about five years, said he prefers the previous rate as it was affordable for the public then.
He said a lot of people who used to take the taxi are now riding for-hire motorcycles and tricycles which offer cheaper fares.
“We are really affected by the new taxi fare rate,” Andojar said, adding he used to earn about P1,200 a day but that has gone down.(davaotoday.com)