Manhunt on for ‘overcharging’ cabbie

Robertzon Ramirez (The Philippine Star) - September 25, 2016 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines – Authorities are hunting down a taxi driver and a barker who allegedly tried to charge their passengers P3,600 for a trip from the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) to the Cubao bus terminal in Quezon City.

Ryan Salvador, officer-in-charge of the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board’s public assistance and complaints desk, said the LTFRB is coordinating with the Land Transportation Office (LTO) to check the records of the driver’s vehicle.

The vehicle with plate number ABE 1959, which was used by the driver and the barker in doing their scam, apparently has no record with the LTFRB, he said.

The LTFRB can immediately issue a show cause order against the driver after getting the information from LTO, Salvador said.

He said if the vehicle has no records with the LTO, the agency would be compelled to report the incident to the chairman’s office so that a mission order will be released, he said in a television interview.

LTO chief Edgar Galvante urged the victims to file complaints against the driver and the barker so that the agency can penalize them.

Modus operandi

In a post dated Sept. 18, Facebook user Janine Jennilyn said she and her brother were approached by a barker at the NAIA Terminal 3 as they were looking for a cab that would bring them to the Cubao bus terminal.

The barker told them that the driver will use the taxi meter, which means charging them the regular fare.

She said they decided to board the cab, but was surprised when the barker sat in the front passenger seat as the driver sped away.

Janine said the driver then wanted them to pay P3,600 as they were on their way to the terminal. She said they agreed, for fear they would be harmed.

Janine said they claimed to be short on cash and would need to stop at an ATM kiosk. She later asked the driver to stop when they spotted some police officers.

She said when the two men heard her brother tell her to approach the police officers, they hurriedly unloaded their luggage and sped away, even if the taxi’s door was open.

Janine said the police officers did not bother to help them since their belongings were intact.

In her post, she stressed that what she wanted was to pay the taxi fare in front of the police officers and have the driver explain why he was charging them an exorbitant amount.

Galvante said a driver found guilty of overcharging can be fined P5,000 on the first offense, P10,000 for a second offense and P15,000 for a third offense.

A Facebook user who commented on Janine’s post said the driver of a taxi with the same plate number was reported on taxikick.com, which encourages the public to report abusive cabbies, for overcharging and not giving a receipt last Sept. 21.

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