Taxi drivers air side on overcharging issue

Jan. 28, 2014

By John Rizle L. Saligumba
Davao Today

DAVAO CITY –Taxi drivers trooped to Mayor Rodrigo Duterte to come clean over the issue of “contract” scheme which involved charging passengers without using their taxi meters at the Davao City International Airport.

“Do not do this again. I warn you. The law should be followed, not me or you. The law not me is astig (tough guy),” said Duterte.

Traffic Management Center head Superintendent Rhodelio Poliquit said they listed the plate numbers of the taxi cabs reported by passengers. He said their list only involved 7 taxi units but many came to clarify their side on the matter.

“We have been receiving daily reports from passengers that there are taxi drivers who charge a per-destination rate instead of using their meters,” said Poliquit.

But for an ordinary driver like Raul Laurencion of the Maligaya Taxi Company, it is not as easy as it appears.

“We are always charging passengers based on the taxi mater. We came because the incident happened when another driver used the unit. It would be a hassle If it’s my turn to drive then I get hailed because of it,” he said.

Maricel Sumayang, liaison office of Maligaya also came to see the Mayor.

“We had our drivers briefed to always use their meters because it is illegal if they would not. But, we cannot completely control our drivers,” said Sumayang.

Sumayang said that the licenses of the drivers were already suspended when they were caught but the company will still enforce “appropriate actions.”

Poliquit said the erring drivers charge different rates for different destinations but said these are “far” from the expected rates.

“For example, they will have a contract with a passanger for P400 from the airport to the DCOTT (Davao City Overland Transport Terminal),” said Poliquit.

Drivers also claim that a dispatcher named “Mak-mak” is the one behind the contract system in the airport.

Taxi cabs usually follow a “turno” where taxi cabs line up in malls and other populous areas and wait for their turn to load passengers. This practice reduces the fuel consumption of the taxis since they no longer have to roam around the city to pick-up passengers.

Poliquit also asked the help of passengers to report such incidents to help identify the erring drivers.(John Rizle L. Saligumba/

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