Valenzuela City Congressman Win Gatchalian is urging the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) to make the provisional taxi flag down rate of P30.00 permanent and to lessen the minimum fare for UV Express units in the wake of the continuous drop in prices of oil products in the world market.
Gatchalian made the call as jeepney drivers in Metro Manila, Central Luzon, and Southern Tagalog started lowering their minimum fare at P7.00 for the first 4 kilometers upon the LTFRB’s directive.
“The slump in oil prices should benefit all commuters, including those who ride taxis and UV Express units,” said Gatchalian, a senior vice chair of the House committee on Metro Manila development.
“Considering LTFRB’s directive to peg the minimum jeepney fare at P7.00, it is high time to look at making the reduced taxi flag-down rate permanent and to lower the initial fare for UV Express units,” added Gatchalian.
The LTFRB last year slashed P10.00 off from the then-P40.00 flag-down rate for regular taxis and then-P70.00 for airport taxis. However, such decrease was only provisional so taxi meters were not recalibrated to show the new rates.
“Taxi drivers have to manually deduct the P10.00-decrease from the total fare and the LTFRB already warned that those who do not follow will be apprehended, but how many drivers dutifully comply with the LTFRB directive?” asked Gatchalian.
Gatchalian maintained that the LTFRB has to recalibrate taxi meters so they will reflect the P30 flag down rate. “Doing so will give justice to commuters who have to carry the burden of paying the extra fare,” he said.
If the LTFRB heeds Gatchalian’s proposal, the resulting P30.00-taxi fare will be at the level of that in 2004 when cab drivers only charged passengers P2.50 per 300 meters and P2.50 for every 2 minutes of waiting time.
Gatchalian also asked the DOTC sub-agency to roll back the minimum fare of UV Express to P10.00-P12.00.
“Doing so will not only lower the minimum fare for UV Express units but also standardize the initial rate. It has come to my attention that some drivers charge passengers a minimum of P15.00 while others only charge P12.00.”
Gatchalian is one of the principal authors of a substitute bill listing down the rights of taxi passengers. The said measure was approved last week by the House’s transportation committee. (Monica Cantilero)