With the whole industry in mind, the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) is seeking to level the playing field by giving the struggling taxi industry a fighting chance.
During a Senate finance committee hearing, Chairman Martin Delgra III said the LTFRB have agreed to increase taxi rates so they could at least compete with publicly preferred transport network vehicle services (TNVS) like Grab and Uber, GMA News reports.
"Ang gagawin namin ng Board—we have already agreed unanimously—we are going to do it on a running time rate so aside from the distance traveled, mayroon na ring papasok on the time traveled," he said.
Delgra believes that through this, the LTFRB can help find a solution to the taxi industry’s dwindling number of drivers which results in the underutilization of vehicles in various fleets.
So far, the LTFRB already held a dialogue with the concerned parties and is planning to release their final decision by the end of September. We’re not really sure if this is a good idea but here are possible implications should this push through.
Taxi surge pricing?
If we got it correctly, the LTFRB wants to make the taxi industry competitive again by making their rates at par with other TNVS. Although Delgra only mentioned adding a “running time rate,” there’s a possibility that surge pricing will also be introduced since they’re basically adopting the pricing strategies of TNVS companies.
We don’t want to wish the taxi industry ill but based on the recent public outrage against the LTFRB, it’s clear that TNVS companies that have the public’s support despite their usually higher rates. It’s probably safe to say that this is mainly due the good service they provide which makes it worth it. Let’s just put it this way: if taxis had similar rates with Grab or Uber, which service would you choose?
Change in service
With the potential increase in fares, we can only see two things happening in terms of the service provided by taxi drivers. Either they straighten up their act and provide better services or the price hike will embolden them to further continue their bad behavior towards passengers. Hopefully, they shape up but we’re not really expecting much.