How many taxi crime stories have I read or heard about this month? Five? Six? Whatever the real number is, it’s too many. And with holiday season upon us, it’s just bound to get worse. I’ve wrote about tips for keeping safe when taking a taxi, but to me, that wasn’t enough. That puts the onus on the passengers to be careful, which is fine. But the responsibility to keep public transportation safe to begin with should be with the LTFRB (Land Transportation Franchising Regulatory Board) to begin with. So I wrote a letter to them. And you should, too.
If you take cabs, or just have a sister/mother/daughter/cousin/colleague who takes cabs in this city, then you should write one, too. We need to let the LTFRB know that they need to take action to make taxis safer, particularly for women. I’ve written the below letter and sent it via the complaint form on the LTFRB site (the email address in the Contact Us page does not work). Feel free to use my own letter as your guide, but do replace my personal experience (my sister’s to be more exact) with yours. Maybe if enough people write in, they’ll do something about it.
Atty. Winston M. Ginez
Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board
East Avenue, Diliman, Quezon City
I am writing as a young woman concerned about the welfare and safety of thousands of others like me, who take local taxis to get in and around Metro Manila. I would like your office to require all, not just taxi, public utility vehicle drivers to display a standard, certified and registered identification (with photo) issued by your good office in their vehicles. This practice is currently in place in major cities such as Singapore and New York, and will hopefully deter taxi drivers from victimizing their passengers. At the very least it should help in identifying and catching them if every they still choose to abduct, rob or even sexually abuse their passengers.
I am pushing for this because of the recent spate of taxi-related crimes these past few months. I am not sure if you are active on any social media platforms, but if you are, you have probably heard or read about at least one of the many instances where a woman (it’s always a female) became the victim of an attempted or actual crime while riding a cab. In the last two months alone, I have read about five or six stories on Facebook and this excludes the stories outside this timeframe. It’s a scary thought to think that these are only the stories that are shared within my small circle of friends, I’m sure there are a lot more out there that either have not reached me or have not been shared online at all.
My own sister was a victim of a taxi robbery, and, it is disconcerting to think that every time she or any of my cousins, colleagues, or friends ride a taxi, they are risking their property, their safety, and in extreme cases, their lives. This is not the reality women in this city should be facing every time they go to work or go home.
As the regulator of these taxis, I see it as your office’s responsibility to make this and all other modes of transportation safe for all citizens, especially women traveling alone. This includes certifying and registering all drivers, and requiring that they display standard identification as issued by your office in their vehicles. The current regulation requiring taxis to have plate numbers and operator names displayed has not helped prevent these crimes, as these can easily be tampered with or concealed. In my sister’s case, the information was covered with tape. Requiring drivers to register with your office, and display LTFRB-issued identification with their names and photos will hopefully be a deterrent for crimes. At the very least, it will make those who dare easier to identify and hopefully, capture. I hope your office will take this step to help the women in this city feel safer in a taxi.
I hope to hear back from your office on this, and also on other measures the LTFRB might be taking to counteract this wave of taxi crime, especially with the holiday season upon us.
Let’s make ourselves heard on this matter. We need to let our government know that it is NOT OKAY to not feel safe in our own city.