Raising taxi fare rates
Don’t you just hate it when people try to exploit you after learning you had a windfall or a bonus, like they were sharks or some such predatory animal surrounding you after smelling blood oozing from your wounds?
That’s the feeling I got after learning about the decision by the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) approving the fare increase sought by taxi operators.
I don’t know if there is a wage increase petition being deliberated on by the Regional Tripartite Wages and Productivity Board (RTWPB) because frankly, whatever increase the employee gets will be offset by this taxi fare increase and other taxes to be imposed by the government in its new so-called tax reform plan.
Oh yes, there was this income tax break proposed by the government, but again, whatever savings an ordinary wage earner like you and me would receive after working through one’s budget will be lost through other means like this taxi fare hike.
The LTFRB ruling stated that the P40 rate will be permanent, regardless of whether or not fuel prices will go down, plus taxis will enjoy an additional P13-plus charge for every kilometer and an additional P2 per minute of waiting time.
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Taxi operators made the demand after seeing their profits cut down by Uber and Grab drivers, and being segurista or making sure they earn profit and then more, they pushed for the fare rate increase by consulting among themselves.
The public hearing staged by the LTFRB on the taxi fare rate increase certainly wasn’t enough to draw out public sentiment on the issue, and it’s just fine for both the agency and the taxi operators since they know that the riding public will be opposed to it.
I don’t know if this week’s regional LTFRB hearing on the fare rate increase for passenger jeepneys will be resolved in favor of the jeepney operators, but in the likelihood that they do, it will only show that the LTFRB public hearings are little more than charades meant as show for compliance to the law.
While the incumbent mass transport operators rail against Uber, Grab and other alternative mass transport options for cutting into their livelihood, their silence is deafening when it comes to accusations of overcharging, trip-cutting and refusing to take in passengers they deem not to be worth their time and effort.
In the case of passenger jeepneys, who will be the obvious beneficiaries of the taxi fare rate increase, it would mean more commuters they can pick up and unload off the streets, regardless of whether they are in the middle of the road or right smack in the middle of heavy traffic.
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In raising the taxi fare rate, the LTFRB said it hopes that the taxi drivers and operators will be motivated to do their job better since they won’t have any more excuse about losing income to their competition.
Would a higher taxi fare rate mean we will see fewer taxi drivers on standby even as dozens or hundreds of commuters line up in terminals or are stranded and drenched by rain as they wait for hours for a cab ride home, only to be turned down by taxi drivers who prefer rich foreigners whom they can manipulate to pay more?
It is said that the higher taxi fare rate will mean more customers for Uber, Grab and the newest ride-hailing app, Angkas. I can only hope that Uber, Grab, Angkas and other ride-hailing services won’t see this as an opportunity to profit from the riding public.
At the same time, I only wish that the more commuters turn to Uber, Grab and other ride-hailing services, the more taxi operators will realize that their concern for profit had only backfired on them and they cannot just demand for any fare rate hike without considering any backlash from commuters.
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I don’t know if Presidential Communications Asst. Secretary Mocha Uson and Thinking Pinoy blog administrator Ramon Nieto gained additional followers for their “show” in last Wednesday’s public hearing on fake news by the Senate.
But based on the laughter by the gallery over Uson’s fumbling response to Sen. Bam Aquino’s probing of her penchant for spreading fake news, which she justified was made in her capacity as an opinion writer/blogger, and the raised eyebrows over Nieto’s claims that the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) where he is attached to needs him more than he needs them — even if by his own admission, they were treated like “alalays (personal assistants)” — one can say that they made more critics than fans that day.
I wish I could say more about them — maybe later — but what I can say now is that since they are in government and yet were found to be spreading fake news, they deserve that public dressing down from the senators in the same way that Cebuana lawyer and Customs consultant Mandy Theresa Anderson got scolded by congressmen for her negative Facebook comments on House Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez.
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