By: Francis Allan L. Angelo
NOT EVERYONE in the taxi industry is enamored by the proposal to charge double on trips outside Iloilo City.
The Association of Taxi Operators in Panay Inc. (Atopi) revived its earlier proposal that passengers travelling outside Iloilo City will pay double the final fare in taxi meters.
For example, if the taxi meter’s final reading is P300 for the trip to Cabatuan, the passenger will pay P600.
The rationale for the proposal is to defray fuel cost of taxi units when they go back to the city.
Atopi president Perfecto Yap said it will also benefit the drivers as they will be assured of income even if there are no passengers on the way back to Iloilo City.
Atopi filed the proposal with the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB).
LTFRB regional director Romulo Bernardes said they will conduct a public hearing on the proposal on May 30 but the final decision on the issue will be made by their central office.
Bernardes said Atopi’s proposal is unique since it is a form of “contracting” which is prohibited by LTFRB rules.
“Still we will conduct public hearings to get public perception on the issue,” he said.
But another group of taxi drivers, the Iloilo United Taxi Drivers Association (IUTDA) headed by Reymundo Ngirngir is opposing the double charge proposal.
Ngirngir said it should be the drivers who should file the petition, not the taxi fleet operators.
IUTDA added that the additional fare will be too prohibitive for passengers and could likely diminish their livelihood instead of increasing their income.
“If ever our income will increase, the operators will also jack up the boundary or rent for their units. The drivers will still be affected,” Ngirngir said.
Bernardes said should Atopi’s proposal is approved, the oppositors can still appeal with the Supreme Court or Office of the President.