Editorial | Stinging impact

THERE is a need to reassess the new taxicab rates on whether it has helped both the industry and the commuters.

Late last year, the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) approved the new taxi rate that took effect late last month.

Under the new rate, the flagdown rate is still P40, but the distance rate is at P13.50 a kilometer from the previous rate of P3.50 per 300 meters. The most notable change is in the rate of time traveled because in the past it was the waiting time at P3.50 for two minutes which was changed to travel time at P2 per minute.

There are requirements that go with this change in rate. A taxicab can only be calibrated – and allowed to adopt the new rate – if it has a gadget for global positioning system and is installed with a transportation network vehicle service mobile application and a closed circuit television camera that needs to have a memory capable of recording 72 hours of footages.

But the question is, did the LTFRB consult the drivers when it decided to implement the mechanism for this new rate?

Taking into consideration this new rate and the increase in prices of basic commodities brought about by the impact of the new tax law, there is a need to look into its impact on the take-home income of the drivers who are supposed to earn more to cushion the impact of the increase in prices of basic goods.

There were reports that as a result of the imposition of the new rate, taxicab operators have increased the rental rates, too, on the reason that prices of spare parts have gone up and that they needed to spruce up their units to meet the requirements imposed by the agency.

Reports were rife also that commuters, at least those who are conscious enough about this new rate, would ask a driver whether the meter was calibrated already because when it was, that commuter would look for the one which was not.

It seems that this new rate is, instead of increasing the take-home income of the driver, becoming a burden to him or her (as there are few women drivers in the city), because most of those who usually would take taxicabs to their destinations have decided to abandon this transportation because of the increase in fare.

Unless this is reassessed, the industry – particularly the drivers – will eventually feel the brunt.

CARTOON

Posted in Opinion