WITH the looming reduction of taxi fare in the region, the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB)-Northern Mindanao said it is supportive of the idea of implementing but without the additional expenses on the part of the taxi operators.
Every time there is an adjustment in the taxi fare, operators have to spend for the recalibration of taxi meters.
LTFRB-Northern Mindanao regional director Aminoden Guro said taxi operators have to pay a thousand pesos for the reprogramming of a taxi meter, but he added they don’t have to spend that much if the agency and the owners can agree on a proposal.
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.
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.