Regular taxis now allowed to pick up passengers in NAIA

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines) — After decades of being shut out from the arrival terminals of the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA), regular taxis can now pick up passengers at the country’s premier airport, officials announced Monday.

Manila International Airport Authority (MIAA) General Manager Ed Monreal said this is the first time in decades that regular taxis have been given 24/7 permission to take passengers from incoming flights.

"Naobserbahan ko po na 'yung mga pasahero, imbes na deretso sila sa same level (to get transportation out of the airport), umaakyat pa po sila (sa departure area), dala-dala ang mga kanilang bagahe at medyo nahihirapan po ang ating mga maglalakbay," Monreal said in an interview with CNN Philippines.

[Translation: I observed that, instead of heading to the same level (to get transportation out of the airport), passengers climb (to the departure area), carrying their baggage, and our travelers are having a hard time.]

"So I thought it wise that they should be accorded with the same service na makapagpili po ang ating mga manlalakbay ng another option na pwede nilang gamitin (paalis ng airport). So sinentralize po namin sa baba, sa arrival area," he said.

[Translation: So I thought it wise that they should be accorded with the same service, so our travelers can have another option in getting transportation (out of the airport). So we centralized the system at the arrival area.]

Monreal said the new scheme will also address the growing demand for more transport options, in addition to expensive airport taxis, rent-a-car, and transportation network service GrabCar.

Data from the MIAA show 45,000 passengers arrive at the NAIA daily, while only 1,700 accredited yellow or airport taxis are allowed to pick up passengers.

Monreal said passengers have to wait for at least an hour before being able to hail a cab – but the new scheme cut the waiting time of passengers to at least 30 minutes. He added the ₱40 flag down rate of regular taxis is also cheaper than the ₱70 flag down rate of airport taxis.

Although the entry of regular taxis mean more options for passengers, this also will heighten competition among airport transport services.

Airport taxi operators said the new measure may kill their business. They asked the MIAA to allow regular taxis to pick up passengers only during peak hours. There was no immediate response from airport authorities.

Monreal said they are aware of passengers' complaints regarding abusive drivers of both regular and airport taxis. Airport authorities, however, are not legally culpable if taxi drivers are proven to be involved in mischief or crime.

The newly-installed MIAA chief admitted they have no control over the drivers' actions after they leave the airport premises.

He gave assurance, however, that they will closely monitor taxis going in and out of the airport, while calling for vigilance from the public. To help passengers obtain information about the taxis they are taking, they will be given a piece of paper on which the taxi details, including plate numbers, are written down.

"Sa amin po, tutulungan namin sila. Kung anuman pong reklamo ay gagawin po namin ng paraan para ma-address po ang kanilang concern," Monreal said.

[Translation: On our part, we will help them. Whatever complaints they have, we will find a way to address those concerns.]

CNN Philippines' Arra Perez contributed to this report.

Also read: Transport officials launch premium airport bus service to reduce passenger queues