MANILA, Philippines (UPDATED) – Commuters across the country will continue paying less for taxi fare, after the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) on Tuesday, March 8 approved a permanent reduction of flagdown rate to P30 from P40, noting the impact of low world oil prices.
The consolidated order issued by the LTFRB is in response to pleas filed by various taxi transport operators, requesting to cancel the P10 discount on the air-conditioned taxi flagdown rate nationwide.
The LTFRB approved the permanent reduction of the existing taxi fare nationwide – except in the Cordillera Administrative Region – to P30 for the flagdown rate, P3.50 for every succeeding 500 meters, and P3.50 for the waiting time every 90 seconds.
For airport taxis, the LTFRB ordered the permanent flag-down rate down to P60 for the first 500 meters; P4 for every succeeding 500 meters; and P4 for the waiting time per 90 seconds.
Meanwhile, the permanent flagdown rate of taxicabs in Baguio City will be P30, P2 for every succeeding 400 meters, and P2 for the waiting time per 60 seconds.
The reduction for flagdown rate will take effect 10 days from publication of the order in national dailies – even without the calibration and resealing of taxi meters.
Sought for comment, Philippine National Taxi Operators Association (PNTOA) President Jesus Manuel Bong Suntay said in a phone interview that the “LTFRB’s decision will be a huge sacrifice for taxi operators and drivers.”
“The permanent P10 reduction on flagdown is huge for drivers. This means their daily income will be reduced by P350. But as long as the succeeding rate is not changed, this could somehow compensate for whatever is lost,” Suntay told Rappler.
“I just hope crude prices wont continue to hike because that would be a problem — in addition to traffic congestion and Uber, GrabCar operations,” the president of PNTOA said.
The LTFRB said its decision to approve new rates is based on recommendations from the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) Board and the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI).
“After carefully weighing and considering various socio-economic factors, the Board decided that the favorable effects of the steady and steep down-trend of crude prices which have a higher and direct impact to the transport sector being enjoyed by transport operators and drivers must also be passed on to the commuting public,” LTFRB Chairman Winston Ginez said.
“Taking into proper account and consideration of the recommendation of these government agencies, the confluence of circumstances and incidents that transpired in local and world economy/market, and the rights of public land transport operators vis-à-vis the interest of the public in general, the Board is now constrained to issue the Consolidated Order,” Ginez added.
Calibration of taxi meters sought
While the flagdown rate of P30 will be implemented 10 days after the order’s publication in national dailies, the LTFRB said rates for the succeeding meters and the waiting time will only be effective upon calibration and resealing of taxi meters.
The LTFRB has scheduled the calibration and resealing of taxi meters as follows:
(Schedule per plate ending)
4, 9 and 2
5, 0 and 7
1, 3,6, and 8
Taxi operators who fail to calibrate and reseal their taxi meters during this schedule will be penalized P5,000, the LTFRB said.
Those found violating the order will be penalized under the Joint Administrative Order No. 2014-01 or the Revised Schedule of Fines and Penalties for Violations of Laws, Rules and Regulations governing Land Transportation, the LTFRB said in the statement. The order, posted on the transportation department’s Web site, imposes a graduated schedule of penalties and sanctions:
• a fine of P5,000 for each incident for the first offense; 2nd offense;
• a P10,000 fine and impounding of unit for 30 days for the second offense; as well as
• a P15,000 fine and cancellation of Certificate of Public Convenience, or license to transport passengers.
The petition to revert to the previous taxi flagdown rate was filed by the Angat Tsuper Samahan ng mga Tsuper at Operator ng Pilipinas Genuine Organization Transport Coalition Incorporated (STOP & GO).
PNTOA, the Association of Taxi Operators in Panay Incorporated, and the Metro Cebu Taxi Operators Association also filed a petition for the reduction of fares for taxis, UV Express Service, and airport taxi services.
In their petitions, the transport groups claimed that the increasing price of spare parts, labor, cost of living, basic commodities and other incidental costs for the operation of taxi services must be considered in conjunction with fuel prices in the determination and adjustment of fares.
Other factors the petitioners mentioned in their argument include the high cost of living, not ideal workplace, traffic congestion, sudden proliferation of Transportation Network Vehicle Services (TNVS) such as Uber and Grabcar, unreasonable traffic enforcers, discount fares for senior citizens, and unreasonable boundary imposed by operators.
According to the Department of Energy, persistent oversupply battered oil prices since mid-2015 and remains the main reason behind the price slump.
Gasoline prices have decreased several times and now range from P29.90 to P37.70 per liter while diesel prices have also gone down with a prevailing price of P18.15 to P21.55 per liter.
The total adjustment this year stands at a net decrease of P3.28/liter for gasoline and P1.90/liter for diesel. – Rappler.com
An earlier version of this story stated that the new rate of P3.50 was for every succeeding 300 meters – the correct figure is P3.50 for every 500 meters. Our sincere apologies.