I politely asked Manong where the meter was and he proudly showed off the gizmo, he says he's one of the first cabs to have the meter. But it felt like a sucker punch for him to have one, he had to loan money from his OFW brother just to buy the mandatory meter which cost P13,500. All cabs must have one by December 2009 or else they can't hit the streets. They can get fined and the fines are huge.
Manong had a lot gripes. Instantly, I became his morning therapist. This was his cab, not owned by an operator or cab company who could afford to shell out the money for the meters. What are other cabbies to do when they can't make meet their daily boundary?
The Boundary is the earning quota Philippine cabs have to make per day to hand over to their operators. Once they reach the said quota, they can keep the rest of the money as their daily earnings. Manong Cabbie in this case would do double shifts and sleep at the gotohans so he can pay off his debts.
He's pissed that you can only buy the receipt-issuing meters at two shops right beside the LTO offices. Taga na nga sa presyo, lakas pa kumabig. These shop owners have the monopoly of the sales of the receipt-issuing meters. Imagine, the number of cabs in Manila required to buy from these shops.
These are cheap in Korea, he says. He has had several Korean passengers telling him so. But the LTO doesn't allow Manila cabs to buy secondhand ones.
He thinks the government should at least subsidize part of the cost; it's not a realistic expectation that every cab could get one by December.
Manong Cabbie also dislikes Manny Pacquiao. Wow he's like the first Filipino I ever met who vehemently dislikes the Pacman. He says Pacman's cab company na sosyo with a certain politician has the monopoly of the airport.
Bawal na kami sa NAIA. We're not allowed to pick up passengers at the airport, we can only bring them there. That single airport cab company now has exclusive monopoly of the terminals and they really have a hefty flagdown rate for OFWs. Yeah, I agree. My last airport cab from NAIA cost me P440 and my stop is just Pasong Tamo.
"Baket lahat ba ng umuuwi sa Pilipinas mayaman?" Manong gripes, "Maawa sila sa OFW"
Before I got off, he allowed me to take a picture of his meter. I'm not the first passenger, he says. People are so fascinated by it, they take pics with their cell phones to show to their friends.
I told him, "Manong,di bale sosyal na metro mo."
Oo nga eh, high-tetch na 'ito! He quips.
In Singapore, the taxi cab meter is a LCD screen. From Little India to Orchard Road with Yoshke it costs us $8 SG
In Berlin, a cab from Unter den Linden to the Hauptbahnhof station cost me around 15 euros (freakin' P900) but I love the rearview mirror taxi meter though, you can see the fare rate from any angle at the backseat.