Taxi drivers ‘target’ delegates of Palaro with unmetered fares

Central Visayas eyeing Palaro gold
Amper Campaña

SOME taxi drivers may have taken advantage of the Palarong Pambansa by reportedly overcharging athletes and coaches, mostly from outside Cebu Province, for their “unmetered fares.”

SunStar Cebu received a complaint on Wednesday, July 10, 2024, just a day after the Palarong Pambansa was officially opened, that some coaches and athletes were “overcharged” by some taxi drivers.

Some of these drivers were reportedly not using a meter.

SunStar Cebu went to confirm the said complaint and encountered two taxi drivers who offered P200 for a ride from the University of San Carlos’ main campus to Ramon Duterte Memorial National High School in Barangay Guadalupe, Cebu City.

The charged price was almost double the normal rate for this route, which would only cost around P100 if it were based on the P2.50 per minute rate with a P40 flag-down rate.

The taxi drivers would then offer a lesser rate of P150 to persuade passengers to be on board.

A netizen, who is a member of a participating delegation in Palaro, also posted on Facebook on Wednesday about her experience.

“Kahit pala dito sa Cebu, madaming taxi na mabilis umangat ang metro. Di na naawa sa mga guest ng Palarong Pambansa 2024 – Cebu City (Even here in Cebu, a lot of taxis have meters that increase rapidly. They don’t pity the guests of the Palarong Pambansa 2024),” reads a portion of her post.

It added: “P118 nasa metro naka-ready na P100 ko, yumuko lang ako saglit para dukutin 20 pesos, pagtingin ko 137 na agad (It was P118 in the meter and I already prepared my P100, I looked down shortly and pull out P20, when I looked back at the meter, it was already P137).”

The taxi meter price goes beyond the conventional P14 per kilometer, which charged P19 as per the numbers indicated by the netizen.

Victims of unmetered and overpriced taxi rides are urged to file a complaint against drivers and operators to the Land Transportation and Franchising Board (LTFRB) and Land Transportation Office (LTO), according to officials.

Eduardo Montealto Jr., LTFRB 7 director, said in a phone interview that as of 3 p.m. on Wednesday, they did not receive any complaints regarding the matter.

Montealto said the victims should take note of the taxi body number and plate number in the report.

He further instructed them to add the date, origin, and destination of their certain reported travel.

Montealto said that a fine of P5,000 can be charged against the operator.

He also urged the complainants to file a report against the drivers with the LTO since only the operators are under the LTFRB’s jurisdiction.

Meanwhile, Glen Galario, LTO 7 director, said that the penalty for overcharging is P5,000 for the first offense, P10,000 for the second offense, and P15,000 for the third offense.

Such action is also considered a breach of the franchise condition, with a corresponding penalty of P6,000.

Galario also urged the victims to file complaints with the LTO and LTFRB for the imposition of sanctions after hearing them as part of due process.

Furthermore, John Pages, chairman of the Cebu City Sports Commission, also suggested to the victims the same measures that Montealto and Galario instructed.

“Please let them take down the name of the driver and plate number and report it to their delegation head,” said Pages.

After the delegation heads forward the reports to him as sports commission chairman, they will take further action regarding the matter.

“We will take action. We should welcome our visitors and not take advantage of them,” added Pages. / with reports from Chamie Grado, Jover Vencio and Althea Penetrante, UP Tacloban Interns

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