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LTFRB OKs taxi fare hike

LTFRB member Aileen Lizada said that part of the taxi fare hike will be for implementation of the phaseout of taxis 13 years or older during the recalibration of their taxi meters. File

MANILA, Philippines — The Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) has defended itself against criticisms following its decision to implement a taxi fare hike despite the poor service of taxi drivers. 

LTFRB member Aileen Lizada said that part of the taxi fare hike will be for implementation of the phaseout of taxis 13 years or older during the recalibration of their taxi meters. 

Lizada said that the LTFRB will implement the Omnibus Franchising Guidelines (OFG) of the agency, which means that taxi operators will be required to put dashboard cameras and closed-circuit television cameras in their units. 

Lizada added that taxi operators who opt to follow the “drop and substitution” of their units 10 years or older will have to comply also with the OFG before the resealing of taxi meters. 

LTFRB chairman Martin Delgra said the board is giving taxi operators a three-year transition so that their units could compete with Transport Network Vehicles (TNVs) as far as quality service is concerned. 

“It is not immediately, but that is the objective of this. We are looking at a three-year transition, but hopefully we’d be able to do that earlier,” he said.

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He also emphasized that the LTFRB is not in a hurry to implement the taxi fare hike, but they are just responding to the petition of taxi operators that has been lodged at their office for more than eight years, or even before his term. 

The LTFRB approved taxi fare hike yesterday morning, which will take effect after its publication. 

Under the LTFRB’s fare hike, the taxi’s flag down rate will be P40 and commuters will be charged a waiting time of P2 per minute instead of the current waiting time of P3.50 per two minutes. 

It also stated that commuters will be charged P13.50 per kilometer, which is higher compared to the previous P3.50 for each succeeding 300 meters. 

Maricor Akol, president of the National Center for Commuter Safety and Protection, said that while the taxi fare hike could be a little steep for some commuters, this should also push taxi operators to improve their services. 

She challenged operators to upgrade their service to compete with ride-sharing companies Grab and Uber, considering the fact that their fares are almost at par, lest they be ignored by the commuting public. 

“We cannot deny the fact that it has been a long time since the taxi fare was adjusted. I hope the fare hike will help operators become more competitive,” she said. With Romina Cabrera

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