CLARK, Pampanga – Regular salary and benefits for drivers, updated requirements for road worthiness, vehicle reclassification, and free internet access for patrons are among the amendments to the guidelines on premium taxis operating in the country.
The said provisions are contained in Department Order (DO) No. 2019-007 that amends provisions of DO 2015-011 covering premium taxis. DO 2019-007 was issued in line with the Public Utility Vehicle Modernization Program (PUVMP), the Department of Transportation (DoTr) said.
DoTr Secretary Arthur P. Tugade signed the guidelines, known as the “Taxi Modernization Program,” on 8 May 2019. The program seeks to respond to the needs of the riding public for a safe, comfortable, and reliable public transport service by providing a reasonably priced option with high-end safety and comfort features.
Tugade said the new guidelines for the operation of premium taxis will benefit both commuters and drivers.
“Our transport modernization programs aim to uplift three elements: the safety and comfort of the riding public, the state of road transportation, and the welfare of transport operators and drivers. Through the Taxi Modernization Program, we provide additional options for mobility to the public while giving our taxi drivers regular compensation and benefits,” Tugade said.
The transportation chief added that the roll-out of the amended guidelines for premium taxis complements the government’s campaign for road safety awareness.
“When our drivers are salaried, they do not need to rush on the road to maximize the number of passengers and flagdowns they could get in a day. We, thus, reduce the risk of road incidence. And, with the amended vehicle specifications for premium taxis, we put on our roads vehicles that are safer and environment-friendly,” Tugade said.
Vehicle reclassification and specifications
Under DO 2019-007, all premium taxi units shall be at least Euro-4 compliant and air-conditioned. They are also reclassified as either silver or gold.
Based on body types per registration with the Land Transportation Office (LTO), sedans may be classified as either silver or gold. Meanwhile, multi-purpose vehicles (MPV) and utility vans (UV) will fall under silver taxis; whereas sports utility vehicles (SUV) and utility vans (premium) will be classified as gold taxis.
The parameters that define silver and gold taxis are upon the determination of the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB). These include, but are not limited to, displacement or power rating, leg room and luggage compartment.
For applicants who intend to operate a premium taxi service, the units to be applied shall not be more than three years old upon application of Certificate of Public Convenience (CPC). The year model of the unit shall be based on the date of manufacture as reflected in the Certificate of Registration from the LTO.
Electric vehicles with at least 100-kilowatt output and hybrid vehicles with at least 1,800 cubic centimeters rated engine displacement shall also be accepted as alternative vehicles.
For the exterior color of premium taxis, the silver taxi will be in black with silver markings, while the gold taxi will also be in black but with gold markings.
The maximum passenger capacity for premium taxis has also been increased. For silver taxi, the maximum number of passengers is four for sedan; six passengers for MPV; and seven passengers for UV. For the the gold taxi, only a maximum of four passengers for both sedan and SUV is permitted, while passengers with pilot seats for the UV.
Safe, modern taxi features
To promote the safety of passengers, all premium taxi units are required to have front-facing seats, seatbelts for all passengers and driver, airbags for the driver and front passengers, and windows in clear tempered glass.
DO No. 2019-007 also mandates modern PUV features for premium taxis, such as free internet access for passengers, on-board navigation system (GPS) or mobile-based application, dashboard and occupancy cameras with continuous recording of the past 24 hours of operation.
DoTr Undersecretary for Road Transport and Infrastructure Mark de Leon said premium taxis aim to supply the growing demand of commuters for a more modern taxi service.
“As we can glean from the TNVS ridership, more Filipinos are now willing to pay a higher amount for cleaner, more modern and convenient taxi services, with mechanisms for commuter safety and feedback. Premium Taxis will offer a similar service level. Truly, there is no reason for taxi services not to up their ante to serve our commuters at a higher standard,” said De Leon.