Transport board chair draws flak over taxicabs

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TWO lawmakers on Sunday slammed Martin Delgra, the chairman of the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board, for saying commuters should assert their rights to the taxi drivers snubbing passengers.

Rep. Neil Abayon said Delgra’s statement was “incongruous.”

“I say taxis and other public transport utilities should be the ones accommodating or adjusting to the needs of the riding public. They are supposed to serve and not the other way around,” Abayon said.

“So I do not see any sense to why the riding public has to be the one to “assert” their right.”

Rep. Bernadette Herrera-Dy said she was “surprised” and “bothered” by Delgra’s statement, which she said was “stiff, robotic and lacks empathy for commuters.”

LTFRB Chairman Martin Delgra

“Chairman Delgra seems to have forgotten that the LTFRB is a law-enforcement agency, aside from being a quasi-judicial body with specific responsibilities over transport service providers given the privilege of serving the public,” Herrera-Dy said.

“It is he and his fellow officials at the LTFRB who should really be going after all those taxi drivers, passenger buses, PUJs [public utility jeepneys] who have not been honoring the terms of the respective franchises issued by the LTFRB itself.”

In a recent television interview, Delgra said the riding public should take steps to change the “culture” of some taxi drivers rejecting passengers.

Some cab drivers only agree to take passengers for extra payment.

“There has been a change of social behavior so that when you call a taxi, you anticipate that you will be rejected,” Delgra said.

“Passengers have to demand service. You have to assert your rights as a passenger before you complain to the LTFRB.” 

Delgra also urged the public to file a complaint against erring drivers.

But Abayon said it was unrealistic that a common passenger would know the rights they would assert  as most of them were not lawyers.

“In Chairman Delgra’s mind, it seems taxis can get away with violations because we commuters are not assertive enough, but TNVS [transport network vehicle service] must be penalized outright by the LTFRB because they do not comply with the law and LTFRB directives,” he said.

Herrera-Dy said Delgra seemed “misguided” when he urged passengers to file verified complaints against abusive drivers.

“He should be lawyering for the commuters, but it looks more like he is lawyering for someone else,” she said.

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