Thursday, February 14, 2013

Dad's Review - Beware of NAIA T1 Unscrupulous Yellow Metered Taxi Driver

Update as of 29th of May 2014

Since I posted this article I never took a yellow metered taxi anymore whenever I arrived from my work or trip abroad with the family. I always availed the coupon white taxi WITH AIRPORT NUMBER. Be aware though that there are also white colorum taxis especially at Terminal 3 that charge exorbitant fare; these colorum taxis look similar with the white coupon taxi with corresponding dispatcher except the airport number painted on the doors. Recently, coming from Tokyo with the whole family, by mistake I thought these taxis were the same with coupon taxis thus when I inquired their dispatcher charged me 2,600 pesos up to San Mateo area. Immediately I searched for the correct coupon taxi and paid the usual amount of 850 pesos plus 150 pesos tip.

Anyway, in case you are not aware, the House of Representatives was urged to investigate the alleged overcharging by yellow taxis at NAIA. See:

My job requires me to travel every 4 weeks to and fro my country and workplace in Middle East.

I always arrive at NAIA Terminal 1 coming from either Dubai or Doha. Usually, upon arrival at NAIA Terminal 1, I immediately proceed to Nissan Car Rental counter just opposite the metered yellow taxi line near the passengers exit.

However, there were times that due to season number of arrival and traffic, Nissan Car Rental didn't have any available car. In that case, my second option was to take the airport yellow-color metered taxi.

Living in San Mateo area, I always pay a standard fare of 850 pesos to Nissan Car Rental whenever I avail their service whereas for the yellow color metered taxi my fare ranges from 800 pesos to 850 pesos depending on the traffic condition and route.

Last December, I took a yellow color metered taxi due to unavailability of car at Nissan Car rental. The metered taxi driver chose EDSA instead of C5. I agreed even if EDSA would have longer distance because the traffic was heavier at C5 during rush hour; the fare was 814 pesos.

Yesterday, I departed from Dubai at earlier time thus I arrived before 7AM at NAIA T1. Seeing that my favorite car rental was still closed I opted to travel by metered taxi.

The yellow-color-metered-taxi dispatcher would initially issue a dispatch receipt with your name on it and destination. Upon settling inside the metered taxi, I told the driver that I need a receipt from the meter so I can reimburse the fare from my company. To my surprise, he asked for the dispatch receipt instead and told me that he would write the total fare and sign on it. I agreed half-heartedly because I usually receive from metered taxi the small receipt from their meter. Aside from that, the driver asked for additional 200 pesos as tip. I told him that I would give him a tip on top of the fare expecting that the fare would be around 850 pesos. I normally give 1000 pesos to the driver; he keeps the change.

There was a light traffic build-up at Villamor Air Base area but after we have entered C5, I noticed that the distance counter started to go crazy.

If you will notice on a taxi meter, the bottom and bigger display indicate the total fare while directly on top of that you would see the smaller 300 meters counter. Whenever the taxi has traveled 300 meters an additional 4 pesos would be added to the fare.

On the other hand, the top leftmost counter shows the time. When caught in traffic, the top leftmost counter or time starts to increase but when moving the 300 meters counter would be the one decreasing depending on your speed; it is like a countdown timer. Normally, when slowing down, the 300 meters countdown timer should also slow down and when the taxi speeds up the 300 meters timer also follows.

However, yesterday, I observed that even when we slowed down at these places, Market Market,/Eastwood,/Ateneo area, the 300 meters count down timer was continuously counting fast. Upon reaching Tandang Sora, the driver noticed that I was keenly looking at the meter. He immediately flicked his wiper lever causing the 300 meter count down timer to slow down. From Tandang Sora until San Mateo area, the 300 meter timer functioned normally since I didn't remove my gaze on it.

At that moment, I knew that his taxi meter was tampered due to the fact that it was the second time I have ridden a taxi with tampered meter. The first time was with my family coming from SM Fairview many years back. The driver has a hidden button under the carpet and he activate the button by pressing it with his left foot; one press means additional fare.

December Metered Taxi Receipt - 2 hours 20 minutes travel time from NAIA T1 via EDSA to San Mateo area - 814 pesos

Upon arrival at home, I told him that his taxi meter was fast thus I demanded the machine receipt and he hesitantly gave it to me. He reasoned out that it was due to traffic however after telling him that I travel every month and I normally pay around 800 pesos he kept quiet. I added that he flicked his wiper lever at Tandang Sora area when he noticed that I was looking at his meter. Embarrassed, he tried to hand me back my change since I paid him 1000 pesos. I simply told him he can keep it.

Yesterday receipt - 934 pesos for 1 hour 22 minutes travel time from NAIA T1 to San Mateo area via C5 and Tandang Sora; less travel time and shorter distance but higher fare.

More than a year back. I remember that due to numerous complains, the metered yellow taxis in the airport were raided and checked by a government agency. I hope they would do that routinely. More so, tourists scammed by these cheating airport metered taxi drivers might think that it might not be fun at all in the Philippines.

In conclusion, some people assume that since OFW's are earning dollars then they have the right to scam these hard working people. They never thought that OFW's suffer homesickness 24/7 whenever they are away from their loved ones, not to mention the hardships they need to overcome in a foreign country. On their part, I can't imagine feeding my family from money taken illegally from unsuspecting individuals. I just hope that our government would try to kick the asses of these unscrupulous drivers trying to earn extra bucks by scamming their passengers.

Few months back when I was in Ho Chi Minh City, the airport taxi driver demanded extra pay on top of the meter fare; I gave in since it was better to demand and negotiate rather than trying to make a fool of yourself by cheating your passenger.


There is a new modus operandi being perpetrated by Airport's yellow metered taxi. They won't use the taxi meter anymore in case you will travel outside Metro Manila. In my case, upon learning that my destination was Rizal province the taxi dispatcher mentioned that they only use the meter when the trip was within MM. Really? I just took the same yellow taxi a couple of months back and I paid based upon the taxi meter.

Anyhow, we had a contract price of 900 pesos for my trip regardless of the taxi meter fare. Knowing that the fare normally reaches 800 pesos I agreed with the price. Moreover, I noticed that though the taxi was indeed yellow color, it didn't show any mark, number or sign we normally see at Airport's yellow taxis' doors.

Since it was a contracted price, I paid the exact amount. I saved my usual 100 pesos tip.

Next time I would use the white color airport taxi.

Revised 07 May 2013

05 JUNE 2013

I arrived at NAIA T1 at around 7 am for my monthly vacation. Knowing that my favorite Nissan car rental wasn't open yet I proceeded immediately to white-color-coupon-taxis parked along the street beside the ramp. I asked for their standard fare for San Mateo trip and to my surprise they have the same rate with Nissan car rental. I paid 850 pesos for the trip and added a tip for the driver.

I would never take the yellow metered taxi again from the airport.

08 JULY 2013

I saw this on my FB page: