LTFRB clarifies taxi fare hike requirements

The regional office of Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) clarified that the taxis have to have mobile applications and other gadgets to improve the units before their taxi meters could be recalibrated for fare adjustment.

In response to Mindanao Times’ Vic. N. Sumalinog’s column, lawyer Teresita D. Yñiguez, regional director of LTFRB XI, said in her letter on Jan. 26 that there are two taxi-hailing platforms such as Grab and HirNa that the taxicab operators can install in the mobile phones of their units.

Yñiguez’ reply was emailed to the TIMES the day after Sumalinog’s column “Can LTFRB clarify?” was published on Jan. 25.

She said the units should be installed with the mobile applications, including HirNa, which is a local application developed by Metro Davao Taxi Operators Association (MDTOA). The local mobile application will be installed to about 4,000 MDTOA units and would be launched next month.

The agency is currently recalibrating the taxi meters of the units, which started last week. There are about 5,600 units in the city.

Under the LTFRB’s Circular issued on Nov. 27, one of the guidelines cited that: “prior to calibration and sealing/resealing, taxi units must be equipped with GNSS receiver, free Wi-Fi, CCTV with continuous recording of past 72 hours of operation and dashboard camera and on-line digital platforms in compliance with the public utility vehicle modernization program.”

“Clearly, under the said circular, all taxi operators are required to, among others, install on-line digital platforms (taxi hailing apps) in all its taxi units. This is meant to improve the quality of taxi service nationwide,” Yñiguez said.

She said they already requited the submission of contracts between the taxicab operators and their taxi-hailing platform providers to ensure the compliance of the guidelines set in the agency’s circular.

Once the taxi meters are calibrated, the fare will increase to P13.50 per kilometer from P3.50 for the first 300 succeeding meters. The running time is now P2 per minute from having a waiting time of P3.50 for two minutes.

The flag down rate remained at P40.

Lawyer Rogelio G. Largo, president of MDTOA, said the taxi fare would now be time bound, which would depend on the running time. He said the rate increase was part of LTFRB’s order, which was approved in October last year.

Prior to the implementation of the fare increases, Largo said their members of the association, which comprised 140 taxi operators, are complying on the circular of LTFRB, including the installation of HirNa. “We are adhering on the order of the LTFRB,” he said. (KMF)

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