AS MORE taxi meters are being calibrated following the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) order of new taxi fare rates, it was not only the passengers who complained of the increased fare rates but as well as the taxi drivers themselves. Apparently, their boundary fee to be remitted to the operators had increased as well.

Metro Davao Taxi Operators Association (MDTOA) President attorney Rogelio Largo explained that such increase is already needed since the last time there was an increase in boundary fee was still in 2012 and he said a lot has happened in five years.

According to Largo, the LTFRB did not only order the taxi operators for the recalibration of the taxi meters to pattern after the new taxi fare rates. In the future, as per the LTFRB order, taxi units will also be required with CCTV and dash cams inside which Largo estimated will cost around P4,000 to P5,000 per unit. Aside from that, LTFRB will also require GPS and Wi-Fi installation to be available per unit.

"These are future expenses that operators have to shoulder. The conditions that were provided for in the LTFRB order is one of the reasons why we need to increase the boundary," he said.

Largo added that in the five years that they did not increase the current daily boundary fee of P1,100, increase in spare parts, taxi unit acquisition, and change oil prices had already increased.

He said in 2012, each taxi unit usually costs around P580,000 but is now already pegged at about P630,000. Largo also pointed out the increase in fast-moving spare parts such as tires which used to be bought at only P1,300 per tire but is now already at P1,900 to P2,100 per tire. Batteries, he said had also increased from P1,700 to as high as P2,500. Because of the nature of the usage of taxis, oil-change happens once a month. Oil used to be only at P25,000 per drum but in the five years it has already increased to about P31,000 per drum.

Largo, however, assured the drivers that they need not to worry as the increase was done with utmost consideration of them as well.

"The drivers should not worry because I have checked already. Based on those that were already calibrated, drivers before used to have a take-home of about P500 to P800 per day. Now, their take home has been doubled to P1,200 to P1,300...We did not just increase without ensuring that the drivers will have their fair share in the increased rate as well," he said.