Atty. Aileen Lizada, a member of the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board, was almost rammed by a taxi that she accosted for refusing to take passengers, claiming that he was not “on duty”.
Lizada had resorted to posing as a commuter in Mandaluyong City, as part of an “undercover” effort to catch misbehaving drivers of taxi cabs and other unfranchised vehicles, like vans, carrying passengers.
Some of the taxi drivers gave the alibi that they had already been contracted, hence their refusal to pick up certain passengers.
Under the regulations, taxi drivers cannot “choose” passengers but have to accommodate all who hail them.
Also flagged were other drivers who attempted to overcharge by asking for extras and tips, as well as those who “contract” trips bypassing the meter-prescribed fare. Many drivers argued that they are compelled to do so as a way to make up for losses due to heavy traffic jams around Metropolitan Manila.
One of the apprehended drivers was taking passengers in a van without a valid license to do so. He turned out to be working with the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) but moonlighting as a van driver servicing commuters with his van.
Still another was caught instructing his passengers to claim they are not strangers, to make it appear that they were not pick-up passengers in a vehicle plying the roads in an unauthorized manner. Colorum, in industry parlance.
Atty. Lizada said: “Taxi drivers should discipline themselves. We don’t want to subject them to unnecessary trouble. They should fall in line. Don’t do this to the commuting public.”