Caught on cam: Haley Dasovich records PH taxi driver scamming her, refusing to turn on meter
While taxis are patronized for their convenience, in other instances, they have become notorious for scamming tourists.
This occurs in many parts of the world and unfortunately, the Philippines is no exception.
Filipino-American vlogger Haley Dasovich documented her experience in Manila with one such cab driver from the airport. What was supposed to be a happy homecoming turned sour as he refused to turn on his meter and lectured her on why he was charging a flat rate.
The video shows her entering a regular white taxi. The driver, with a blonde streak on his hair and in a red shirt, is initially polite. He offers to teach her Tagalog and when she agrees, he declares that it’s a dollar (P52) per word.
Dasovich notices that the meter isn’t ticking and asks him to start it. He offers a fixed rate. “How about ate (sister) P500?”
“No, I’m not gonna do this with you,” she says.
“Okay. I’ll transfer you to another taxi Ate,” he replies. “I’ve been there for almost two hours.”
She notes that taxis do not offer fixed rates elsewhere in the city. He finally agrees to use the meter after she offers him a tip.
He advises her to take a yellow airport taxi, which is known to have a higher price than regular taxis since it has a higher flag down rate. Those familiar with airport taxis would understandably opt for the white taxis which have the regular meter and are not required to stay in the airport and wait for passengers.
He adds, “If you want cheaper taxi, you take Grab next time,” stating that he serves “out-of-town passenger and good passenger.”
The driver claims that metered taxis are losing money because they wait for passengers for some time. “Sana naman next time, tulong na lang (Hopefully next time, as help),” he says. While it’s unclear what help he wanted, he seemed to pertain to paying a fixed fare.
“Turn the meter on and that’s the price,” Dasovich says, and asked why his vehicle had a meter in the first place.
He tries to divert the issue, stating that his using the meter wasn’t her concern. “Gusto mo ng murang taxi kaya white taxi ang kinuha mo, ‘yun ang totoo Ate (You just want a cheap taxi which is why you took a white taxi, that’s the truth).”
He repeated, “Tulong mo na lang sa amin, sa tagal namin na nag-aantay doon (Help us since we wait for a long time).”
“Para namang metrohan kami, ‘di ba, hilingan mo kami ng metro, pwede naman nga kaso nalugi na kami (You can ask us to use the meter but we lose money).”
Although Dasovich appears frustrated and tired, she still sympathizes, “I know, that’s hard.”
After her encounter, Dasovich expressed her frustration in text: “This a taxi scam that happens often in Manila. I’ve been kicked out of multiple taxis and left on the side of the road to try finding another taxi, only to get kicked out of the next one too.”
“Tourists and out-of-towners, be wary of ‘broken meters’ and ‘fixed rates.’ I would recommend always and only ever use Uber or Grab Car. NEVER a taxi,” she wrote.
But as she pointed out in her situation, not all tourists have this choice if they don’t have access to a smartphone.
The Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) approved a taxi fare hike last October 2017. The flag down rate in the National Capital Region is P40 while P13.50 is charged per kilometer and P2 per minute of travel time.
Taxi operators whose drivers charge fixed rates may be fined with up to P120,000.
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