MANILA – Alarmed by the rise in cases of alleged overcharging and other abuses by airport taxis at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA), Senate President Franklin Drilon on Thursday called out airport authorities to solve the problem, starting with ensuring the steady supply of metered taxis servicing NAIA’s passengers.
The Senate chief made the statement following recent reports and stories circulating online about airport taxi drivers and their accomplices charging grossly bloated fares from hapless passengers – especially foreign tourists and travelers who they picked up at the arrival areas of NAIA Terminals 1, 2, 3 and 4.
“I strongly urge the Manila International Airport Authority (MIAA), especially its General Manager Jose Angel Honrado, to immediately do what needs to be done to put an end to these reports of abusive and unscrupulous drivers preying on both local and foreign travelers and our overseas Filipino workers (OFWs). We do not need to suffer these crooks in our airports,” Drilon said.
“It is said that airports can be used, especially by foreigners, to gauge how effective any government’s services are. So I hope that our airport officials care enough and realize how serious it is when our OFWs, travelers and tourists arrive at our airports only to be greeted by thieves and swindlers in taxis,” Drilon said.
Drilon said that key to solving the airport’s taxi problem is increasing the number of accredited metered taxis servicing NAIA, and make them commensurate to the number of passengers arriving at the airport daily.
According to official MIAA data last year, the NAIA has only around 1,677 airport-accredited taxis and vehicles for rent. In comparison, in 2014 the daily number of arriving passengers at Terminal 1 is reported at 9,536 passengers; 10,722 passengers for Terminal 2; 21,293 passengers for Terminal 3; and 4,949 passengers for Terminal 4.
“As you can see, there is clearly a need to bolster the number of metered taxis in the NAIA whom passengers can rely on to charge them proper and reasonable fares during their rides,” Drilon said.
He pointed out that the long queues for the limited metered taxis create room for “fixed-rate” taxis and rental cars who overcharge desperate commuters, such as the story posted on social media by a group of commuters arriving from NAIA who refused a PHP1,800 “fixed rate” offer by an airport taxi, and went instead to a metered taxi who charged them PHP320.
“There is absolutely no reason as to why the MIAA would tolerate these deficiencies which result to poor services to our passengers. If the present concessionaire could not provide the number of cabs our airport needs, let us find another one who can,” Drilon said.
Noting that the taxi issue is only the latest in a string of controversies involving the country’s premier airport, Drilon said that the MIAA should not dilly-dally in keeping a closer eye on its taxi system and in reforming its procedures to better protect passengers.
“After the ‘tanim bala’ issue and the many other scandals which have taken a toll on the image of the NAIA and the country as a whole, I think General Honrado and the rest of MIAA could not afford to not take immediate action on this issue. If they want to truly prove that they care about our flying public, then they need to act now,” Drilon said.