(Updated) A Chevy among Davao’s taxi cabs
It could be a symbolic shift.
I took a taxi cab on my way to a press conference today, mag-jeep ra unta ko pero malate na, thanks to my procastination and the fear of being stuck in Bangkerohan bridge’s clog. It was a dilapidated Korean-made Kia car-turned taxi cab.
We left the press conference two hours later for another news ops in a stylish Chevrolet car — pretending to be a taxi cab. We hitched ride with Grace P. of another paper.
Yes, a Chevy Aveo 5 running in the guise of a taxi cab along with probably the oldest, grumpiest, and most vulnerable taxi cabs plying the streets of any Philippine city.
It was a study in contrast. The first one bearing remnants of a distant past: greasy and rusty doors, infectious if not ruined seat belts, and some disturbing odor– sometimes of the driver’s.
The other one: new, slick, and neat. Of course it has aircondition, and yes, the meter ticked faster.
Davao is probably the only Philippine city that allows these rundown mobile machines to loiter, make money, andreportedly to embarass itself to visitors (for starters here’s the gist: I overheard two Singaporeans during the ASEAN Tourism Forum in 2005 give haughty comments against our cabs. In Singapore, I found out later that year, their cabs look luxurious –and were steered by drivers who dressed like our med-reps. Probably emz comment bellow is correct, we can’t compare with Singapore, Davao is is backward compared to that city.)
Davao City in 2007 is like Iloilo City in 1994, if we are talking about taxi cabs.
The city’s non-air taxi cabs are, however, popular. Part of it is because of having not much choice. Of the city’s registered 4,000 units with taxi francise, only about 30 percent have airconditioning.Another reason is of course because taking non-air is cheaper.
I’m really into public utility vehicles. I am already happy to taste some luxury when I could hitch a ride with Mindawind (the MindaNews Crosswind.) But it’s rare.
The thing about taxi is that its really a choice —you can flag a non-air or an air-con cab down —its really your call. You can even take the jeepney, which is what I do everyday, depending on your circumstances.
But the Land Transportation and Franchising Regulatory Board, in cooperation with the city government have launched a modernization plan gradually easing out non-air and dilapitated cabs up to 2009 to give way to modern and more presentable units.
And as of May 30, LTFRB announced 200 new taxi units have started to push the older ones to the graveyard.
LTFRB 11 chief Abdulgafar Mohammad told reporters the other day taxi firms Holiday, Mabuhay and Maligaya (in alphabetical order) have already acquired similar presentable units.
The Chevy we took today is among the 15 out of 60 units HolidayTaxi is fielding to test the waters.
As of our test ride earlier today, its in. Now the Dabawenyo riding public has another option –the new models of taxi cabs.
Move over Cagayan de Oro! Dabawenyos won’t rent your air-conditioned taxi cabs anymore once the city hosts another international event. I hope so.