Top Gear Philippines
January 6, 2016
This is the line for metered taxicabs at NAIA Terminal 2. Prior to joining this queue, we had been offered by a guy an "airport taxi." When we reached their desk, we were quoted a fare of P1,800 to our office on Pioneer Street in Mandaluyong. When we asked how come the rate was so high, the man told us it was because we were paying for a "rental car." We protested and said: "But you offered an airport TAXI." He pointed at the long line for the metered taxis, and said we'd have to fall in line if we wanted a taxi.
So we refused and walked away. "Niloloko nyo ang mga tao," we told him. A woman saw us and tried to win us back. She led us to the same desk. She quoted us a rate of P1,280. WTF. Her colleague had just tried to take P1,800 from us. In a span of less than two minutes, the rate had changed.
Even more funnily, another woman approached us and declared: "Sir, eto final na, P1,050." We let her know that her two companions had just tried to charge us higher rates. She answered: "Sir, ganun po talaga dahil iba-iba kaming companies." We told her: "Hindi rin. Magkakasama kayo. Isang kartel din kayo. Parusa kayo sa mga tao."
Even so, we wanted to take the P1,050 ride because we were really exhausted from the long trip. But then we realized we would be contributing to this wrong system if we did.
So we dragged our luggage all the way to the back of the line for the metered taxis. The metered cabs arrived in trickles (the rental cars, however, were available as you needed one).
Standing in front of us in the line was an American geophysicist based in the Philippines. He lives in Makati, and the same rental-car peeps were charging him P3,200. "You know, I love this country, but you have the worst airport in the world," he rued. "The last thing arriving passengers want is to get hassled. And they won't allow Uber here."
Why do we allow this?
PS: We paid just P320 for the metered cab.