MANILA – Senator Juan Edgardo “Sonny” Angara on Sunday urged the authorities to look into the alleged overcharging by airport taxis at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA), which he said can drive away tourists and give the country a bad image.
“There are a lot of dreadful stories circulating online about airport taxis notoriously overcharging and duping passengers – whether they are local tourists, overseas Filipino workers or foreigners visiting our country,” Angara said.
“Our transportation and airport authorities should look into this matter seriously and resolve this right away or else, Philippine tourism will suffer,” said Angara, vice chairman of the Senate tourism committee.
In a recent Facebook post by Top Gear Philippines that has gone viral, a group was allegedly quoted a fixed rate of PHP1,800 by an airport yellow taxi – which they say was turned into a rental car – from NAIA Terminal 2 to their office in Mandaluyong.
The group refused the offer and instead joined the long queue for a metered taxi which charged them PHP320 only.
Based on the same post, an American was also quoted a bloated fare of PHP3,200 from the airport to Makati.
Regular taxis charge a flag down rate of PHP40 and PHP3.50 for every 300 meters while airport taxis charge a PHP70-flag down rate and PHP4 for every 300 meters.
In April 2015, the Manila International Airport Authority (MIAA) has allowed unaccredited metered taxis to pick up passengers at the arrival areas of NAIA Terminals 2 and 3 but only during peak hours to meet the high demand from airline companies and travellers.
The MIAA had long barred empty white cabs from entering the NAIA complex, and only allowed them to pick up passengers if they had also brought passengers when they arrived there.
The MIAA said such restriction was in response to security concerns and complaints over regular taxis that overcharge, extort or are being used for robbery, and because only the over 1,600 airport-accredited taxis and vehicles for rent are accountable to the MIAA.
“The accreditation system was precisely to protect the passengers from the abuse of unscrupulous drivers. I think it is high time for the authorities to probe into the rates imposed by these accredited taxis and rental cars, and ensure that they charge reasonable fares to protect the welfare of the passengers,” said the lawmaker, who is also set to file a resolution to investigate on the issue.
“Whatever effort to promote our beautiful Philippines, the tourists will not come if they will experience this at the airport. We have also improve our facilities and infrastructures to make sure that they are safe and free from abuse,” he added.