Comply with franchising guidelines, LTFRB to taxi operators

MANILA -- Taxi services should be at par with those offered by transportation network companies, an official of the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) said Wednesday.

This, as the agency plans to increase the number of taxis plying Metro Manila roads to address the demand of commuters.

LTFRB board member and spokesperson Aileen Lizada said taxi operators should comply with the omnibus franchising guidelines issued last June as part of the government's public utility vehicle (PUV) modernization program.

The taxis should have automated fare collection, WiFi connectivity, dashcam, among others to comply with the franchising guidelines, Lizada said in an interview with reporters.

Under the Omnibus Franchising Guidelines, local government units plan public transport routes based on the current and projected travel patterns in their respective areas.

These routes will be contained in the Local Public Transport Route Plan (LPTRP) of LGUs that will serve as basis for franchise issuance by the LTFRB.

The LTFRB said it is planning to meet with taxi operators who are partnering with taxi-hailing app MiCab to discuss the issue of granting more taxi franchises. MiCab has earlier said that it would partner with as many as 7,000 cabs in Metro Manila this year.

The service, which is available in Cebu and Iloilo, is aiming for an initial 3,000 taxis in the metropolis by October.

Unlike transportation network companies (TNCs) Uber and Grab, MiCab only connects passengers to a network of regular taxis with franchises, not private vehicles. It also allows users to give feedback about their taxi ride and rate their driver.

The agency, she said, would coordinate with the Land Transportation Office (LTO) to craft policies that will impose stricter sanctions on abusive taxi drivers.

The board is contemplating on the idea to link up with LTO to issue some policies. We are leaning towards the direction wherein a taxi driver's license will be suspended for a certain number of months for the first offense and cancellation of their licenses for subsequent offenses, she said.

In a Malacanang press briefing Tuesday, LTFRB Chairman Martin Delgra III said the agency is considering more taxis on the roads to address the growing demand for them and at the same time, force abusive taxi drivers to shape up.

"We would like to get the help of transport planners and an expert of UP on how to calibrate giving or opening up more franchises again to address supply of taxi... I mean, to put in more supply in order to address demand, Delgra added.

Source: Philippine News Agency