By LITO RULONA,
The Committee on Public Utilities has tasked the newly-created department Roads and Traffic Administration (RTA) to conduct a study on allowing the increase the number of taxi units as requested by an association of drivers and taxi operators.
Committee chairman Teodulfo Lao, Jr. said there should be a reliable basis if the body should allow an increase of taxi unites plying the city or would it add to the traffic congestion problem.
“Naa na’y petition nga atong nadawat for the increase of taxi units. Kinahanglan ba gyud nga dugangan nga ubay-ubay na ra ba ang mga taxi units dinhi sa Cagayan de Oro,” he said.
Lao cited the actual count of the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB 10) which puts the number of taxi units plying the city at about 2,366.
However, Cagayan de Oro’s First Taxi Drivers Alliance’s (Cafitada) president Bernie Jamaca claimed that the number of units as counted by LTFRB 10 has already been reduced during the flood earlier this year.
During the meeting, Jamaca claimed that there were about 140 units that were already considered damaged and all of its franchises were not renewed.
He said present condition claims that there are a lot of taxi drivers who are now considered as jobless because of the non-availability of taxi units.
“On the 2003, 14 years ago wala na’y bag-o nga mga franchise ang gina-isyu sa LTFRB para sa mga bag-o nga units. Kung duna may nahatagan mao kadtong replacement lamang sa daan nga units,” he said.
He said there are a lot of operators has shifted their business rather than to stay in public transportation sector.
“Kana diay mga Royal Taxi di ba 100 units kana sa una karon murag napulo na lamang ang nagdagan. Original number of taxi units in 2003 is 3,000 and then karon existing is 2,366 units, so kulang kita og more than 600 units,” Jamaca added.
Jamaca said to be fair with the city council and LTFRB 10, his group is only requesting for an additional of 300 units as replacement units.
But Lao said he could believe the taxi drivers claims but to task RTA to conduct an immediate study and review of Cafitada’s claim.
“Usa sa factor is the increase of population. But we will also consider that the increase of population really means higher demand. Basin baya unya ang pagdaghan sa pasayro didto mosakay sa mga public utility vehicles like jeepney,” he pointed out.
Lao said the study and review conducted must be widened in nature to include other types of public utility vehicles to avoid a one-sided decision on the request to the committee.
“The LTFRB claimed that they are willing to issue new franchises if the city government would allow the additional increase on the number of taxi units in Cagayan de Oro. Actual evaluation must be made og tan-awon nila kung duna’y demand and the traffic situation must be considered,” he said.