An advocate of reforms in the Transportation sector has urged the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) to come up with a unified traffic regulation and fare adjustment for Metro Manila taxi drivers, who carry passengers from one province to another.
In the second deliberation of the bill, Valenzuela City Congressman Win Gatchalian explained LTFRB representatives should immediately create a clear guideline on the travel scope of taxi drivers to ensure that taxi passengers will not be financially abused in the future.
As of now, taxi drivers who operate under a franchise within Metro Manila can transport passengers at any point in Luzon while taxi drivers that operate under a franchise located in other provinces can only transport commuters anywhere within their respective province.
“Under our proposed taxi passengers’ bill of rights, refusal to convey is an outright violation. Paano kung gusto ko sumakay mula Metro Manila hanggang Appari since Luzon iyon? Medyo imposible naman. Kawawa naman ang operator at si manong driver,” Gatchalian said.
“It’s about time na magpalabas na ang LTFRB ng mas malinaw na batayan kung saan lang mandatory sa mga driver na magdala ng pasahero at kung saan pwede silang tumanggi since subject to traffic regulations naman ang provision,” he added.
But the lawmaker also clarified that the LTFRB should also recommend an additional payment on top of metered fare for taxi drivers who conduct out of town trips.
Gatchalian, who is a member of House Committee on Trade and Industry, told LTFRB to consider the taxi travel length and government sanctioned fees, like toll fees, in making such fare adjustments.
“Let’s also be fair and just when it comes to the compensation for provincial trips. I’m sure maiintindihan naman ito ng mga commuters. Hindi birong umalis ng Metro Manila kasi kadalasan niyan abonado o lugi pa ang driver pagbalik,” he said.
Gatchalian is the author of House Bill No. 3681 or the “Bill of Rights of Taxi Passengers”, and a member of a technical working group (TWG) tasked to create a substitute version of his bill along with five other taxi-related measures.
Under the draft substitute bill, there is a provision that gives right to taxi passengers to be “transported to their stated destination, regardless of the length of journey or traffic condition, by any available on duty taxi drivers, subject to applicable traffic regulations.”
During the hearing, Philippine National Taxi Operators Association (PNTOA) President Bong Suntay said there is already a petition filed two years ago on LTFRB, requesting to double the payment of taxi drivers on out of town trips.
“Kung hindi trapik, ‘yung pagpunta talaga sa probinsya, gaya ng Cavite, ang talagang nagiging ugat ng mga complaints on refusal to convey kaya nag-file kami ng petition to LTFRB about it pero so far wala pa silang tugon,” Suntay explained.
Carl Marbella, who represented LTFRB in the hearing, vowed to the TWG that the LTFRB will give feedback on Gatchalian’s suggestion next week. (Tim Alcantara)