This is a situation that everyone in the Philippines — both locals and foreigners — can relate to.
Natalia Moon, an Australian DJ and actress, posted a video of herself on Monday which shows her trying to negotiate with a Filipino taxi driver to lower her fare.
Her video has gone viral, with more than 2,800 shares and more than 249,000 views as of today.
In her caption for the video, Moon wrote: “Taxi [driver] won’t use the meter [and] gives me a long explanation why. So I ended up paying double for my trip. I feel bad for myself. I take at least 2-4 cars a day [so] you can imagine the stress. It’s the principal (sic) that makes the situation annoying.”
In the video, Moon can be seen speaking in a mix of Filipino and English and asking the driver: “So you’re not going to use the meter? Coz it’s traffic.”
The driver then asked for PHP250 (USD$4.67).
Judging by Moon’s reaction, it was more than she expected.
Calling the driver kuya (a sign of respect given to men), she said: “Kuya, I will go insane.”
Many Filipino drivers choose to charge a fixed rate instead of following the amount specified by their meters, especially during rush hour or if the traffic is bad in the area that the passenger wants to go to.
The practice is illegal but continues to happen, as evidenced by Moon’s experience.
The driver told moon to “get another taxi” if she doesn’t want to pay the amount he wanted. He told Moon that the traffic in EDSA, the city’s main thoroughfare, is horrendous.
Moon answered: “I know kuya but can we just follow the meter?”
“No, I will lose. I will lose my job,” protested the driver, who again asked for PHP250(USD$4.67).
Moon tried to negotiate for PHP200 (USD$3.74) but the driver insisted on getting what he originally wanted.
“Why PHP250? Because I’m a foreigner? PHP200 we have a deal,” answered Moon.
The driver said: “Transfer to another cab. I don’t want to leave Makati. Because the traffic is bad.”
He explained his reasons: “I hope you understand us. Gasoline is so expensive and then I’ll get stuck in traffic. My boundary [in a day] is PHP1,550 (USD$28.96), gas is PHP1,600 (USD$29.90). Think about how much I save.”
Taxi drivers in the Philippines are required to pay a fee — called boundary — to the owners of the vehicles that they are driving. Obviously, the driver that Moon is speaking to is not an exception.
Not backing down, Moon asked: “But how come you don’t want to use your meter?”
“Because the traffic is bad, ma’am. I’m not forcing you [to pay]. I don’t have enough money to pay for gas. I hope you understand,” answered the driver.
Exasperated, Moon answered: “I understand. [But] I have a headache.”
Moon’s experience didn’t sit well with netizens.
Melvin Morales said the driver should be “apprehended.”
Jenny Atacador called the driver a “d*ckhead.”
But motoring journalist James Deakin, who reposted the video, had a more sobering take on the situation.
He wrote on his Facebook page: “[T]he meter is really out of touch with reality. With gas prices soaring and traffic getting worse, it’s hustle or hunger for these cab drivers. We can’t expect them to work a 24 hour shift for a few hundred pesos. That’s just inhumane.”
What’s your take on this issue? Share your thoughts by tweeting to @CoconutsManila.
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