More taxis on the road - That’s the solution the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) came up with to combat the demand from commuters in Metro Manila.
This was announced by LTFRB Chairman Martin Delgra at Tuesday’s Malacanang briefing.
"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,” said Delgra.
Before you go off on another tirade and start hashtagging the Board again, there is a caveat to this plan.
According to LTFRB board member and spokesperson Aileen Lizada, these new taxi franchises must operate at the same level of competency as transport network companies (TNCs) like Uber and Grab and must comply with the latest edition of the omnibus franchising guidelines released by the Board last June 2017 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,” said Lizada.
Part of the new guidelines include coordination with local government units in order to plan routes based on travel patterns of the city’s constituents.
Taxis that have partnered with hailing app MiCab are set to meet with the LTFRB to discuss about the opportunity to get more franchises.
The LTFRB is also working with the Land Transportation Office (LTO) in order to create measures and stiffer penalties versus 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,” added Lizada.