Violators face P5,000-P15,000 fine

(Sun.Star file photo)

STIFF penalties await taxi drivers who will refuse to cut their flagdown rate by P10 starting today, as ordered by the Land
Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB).

LTFRB-Central Visayas Acting Director Reynaldo Elnar said that the P40 flagdown rate will still reflect in the taxi meter until it is re-calibrated, so drivers should deduct P10 from the total fare.

The new flag down rate is P30.

For example, if the amount in the taxi meter totals P93, the passenger only needs to pay P83, he said.

This does not include yet the 20-percent discount for senior citizens, students and Persons with Disabilities (PWDs), Elnar said.

If a taxi driver refuses to heed the new LTFRB en banc order, penalties under the Joint Administrative Order (JAO) No. 2014-001, which was implemented last year, will apply.

Both the driver and operator will be fined P5,000 each for the first offense.

For the second offense, the fine is P10,000 and the taxi unit will be impounded for 30 days.

On the third offense, the driver and operator will be fined P15,000 each and the Certificate of Public conveyance (CPC) or franchise for the taxi will be revoked.

In a phone interview yesterday, Elnar said they welcome complaints from taxi passengers. Once a complaint is filed in their office, both the driver and operator will be summoned, he said.

“We can impose the penalty right away if the evidence if sufficient,” he said.

In an earlier interview, Ryan Yu of the Cebu Integrated Transport Operators Cooperative said they are contemplating on asking the court to stop LTFRB from implementing the order.

They also plan to ask LTFRB to reconsider its decision, noting that the prices of gasoline are increasing again.

Jaime Paglinawan, chairman of Bayan Visayas, said the taxi fare reduction is good for the riding public. He lamented, though, that the government has again allowed the oil companies to increase oil prices despite the continuing reduction of oil prices in the world market.

For his part, Ramie Inopiquez of Kadamay-Cebu said the reduction of the flag down rate is untimely because oil companies are gradually increasing gasoline and diesel prices.

Edgar C. Espina Jr., the president of the Mandaue City Public School Teachers Association and Teachers Dignity Coalition (TDC) Mandaue City Chapter, said that as commuters, they are happy to know that they can now share in the benefits of cheap diesel and gasoline.
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