Editorial | Monitoring is key

It was Mindanao Times columnist Vic Sumalinog who first posed last week the questions on the recent increase in taxicab fares.

In that column, Sumalinog questioned the motive of the agency behind the requirements it has imposed on the recalibration of meters, among them the need to have a registered transport network vehicle service mobile application, which in turn would need a smart mobile phone, and the need for the installation of dashboard cameras and a global positioning system.

His column immediately merited a reply from Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board regional director Teresita D. Yñiguez, who said that taxicab operators have the choice what mobile applications to use, as well as the need for a dashboard camera, a free wireless fidelity (Wi-Fi) and a global positioning system connectivity.

Yñiguez, a lawyer, based her reply on the circular issued by the agency late last year which spelled out the guidelines in the recalibration of taxicab meters.

Under the guidelines, the agency said: ”Prior to calibration and sealing/resealing, taxi units must be equipped with GNSS (Global Navigational Satellite System) receiver, free Wi-Fi, CCTV (closed circuit television) (camera) 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.”

Of course, the motive of the agency is laudable as this will not only enhance the travel efficiency of the vehicle in bringing the passenger to the destination both in a shortest distance and time travelled, but also ensures that the passenger is safe not only from outsiders but from the driver.

However, will the agency punish those operators who are fooling it by transferring the gadgets to those units that need to be recalibrated and transferring them to other units after the process? If not, then the implementation is useless.

More than the gadgets, the agency should also make sure that the drivers, and their operators, abide by the law with the latter also ensuring that they make it easy for their drivers to survive the impact of increasing prices of basic commodities. Unless this is done, the increase in taxicab fares will not get justified.

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Posted in Opinion