LTFRB Opens Slots for More Taxis, Not Ride-Sharing Options

The board has put 5,000 new taxi franchise slots up for grabs.

Set aside all your concerns regarding the number of ride-sharing options (or the lack thereof) for a minute: The Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board has some "good" news. The government agency has just announced that it has opened 5,000 new taxi franchise slots "to bridge the gap between the number of existing taxi units operating in Metro Manila and the actual demand," adding that 100 of slots have already been awarded.

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In a statement released on Facebook, the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) said that each application can cover between a minimum of 100 brand-new taxi units and a maximum of 1,000provided they’re compliant with Memorandum Circular 2015-004. Units can carry a maximum of five occupants, driver included, and must be Euro 4-compliant. They must also have a garage within their area of operation, as well as a shop capable of maintaining each unit's roadworthiness, the LTFRB said. Finally, taxis must offer free WiFi, and must come equipped with 24-hour CCTV and dashcam surveilance.

"All applications will be evaluated on a 'pass-or-fail' basis," the LTFRB's statement reads. "If the applicant meets all the criteria and submitted all the necessary documents, he is deemed 'Qualified.' Failure to meet the criteria or submit the needed documents would merit a 'Disqualified' status."

Among the reasons the LTFRB says it is opening more slots are an increase in population, growth in tourism, economic development, and cancellation or expiration of existing franchises. "The opening of these new franchises aims to address the gap in demand with the goal of providing safe, comfortable, and convenient daily transportation experience to our most important stakeholders, the commuting public," said the agency.

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These newly opened slots for taxis come at a time when options for ride-sharing are looking pretty bleak: Wunder Carpool, a ride-sharing platform ceased operations on June 28, and Transport Network Vehicle Service drivers have recently staged a "holiday."  Plus, while the LTFRB is working to add more taxis to our roads, the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority is also looking into lessening private cars with a revival of their driver-only ban along EDSA. 

Update: The LTFRB reached out to TopGear to clarify that "one franchise slot is equal to one taxi, so only 5,000 taxi slots" have supposedly been opened. TopGear stands by the original understanding of the memo they circulated on Facebook. 

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