Airport Taxi Scams: Beware Fraud from Cabs especially at NAIA
In 2011, the Ninoy Aquino International Airport terminals carried over 29 million passengers, making it among the top 50 busiest airports in the world.
When in Manila and taking a cab from the airport, it’s better to be alert to taxi scams.
Apparently, there is a taxi scam going on right before the noses of airport officials (if they’re not in on it themselves; if not, they need to sharpen their powers of observation.)
Here’s my story. Last month, I went on a trip to Brunei and Sabah. My flight was at 11:40 in the evening. That day, I was rushing to finish as much work as possible before my leave and, consequently, my mind was almost numb from tiredness.
On the way to the airport on a cab, I wasn’t paying attention. I got off without checking if the taxi took me to the right terminal. I’m afraid it did when I realized I was at Terminal 2 instead of Terminal 3 where the Cebu Pacific planes were.
I looked around and saw that taxis were dropping off passengers so I figured it shouldn’t be too hard getting a metered taxi to take me to Terminal 3.
One airport personnel, not a guard, called my attention to a white taxi parked nearby and told me it was a metered taxi. I got in. I checked the meter and saw it looked different—it did not show any amount just distance in kilometres. I asked the cab driver how it worked and he explained that their cab rates were in dollars, even showing me a signboard with dollar rates on it.
I realized that I would end up paying over a thousand pesos for a trip from Terminal 2 to Terminal 3 (which took less than 15 minutes actually as the traffic then was very light)!
Outraged, I told him the rates were ridiculous and that this looked like a scam. He explained that the rates were official rates and were structured for foreign tourists. I said, who was he kidding and there was no way I would accept those rates.
For the reader’s information, yellow Manila airport cabs have a flag down rate of PHP 70 for the first couple of kilometres and PHP 2.50 per 500 meters.
When at the Manila airport choose the yellow metered airport taxis. They are reliable in my experience.
The cab driver, sounding very amiable, just went on explaining and gave the impression that I was making a fuss about nothing and that he was being generous to me by switching off the meter so I will not pay the entire amount. Eventually, I agreed to pay PHP 400… In hindsight, I knew I still paid an unreasonable amount as yellow airport taxi rates normally don’t go higher than PHP 200 for a trip between airport terminals.
But I was in a hurry already, as I had only two hours left before my flight. I needed to get out of the taxi. So I went on my trip, had a great time, and almost forgot the incident.
When I got back I read a Facebook post by a colleague who experienced the same taxi scam at the NAIA Terminals 2 and 3. I’m reposting his story here.
August 27 at 10:17pm near Manila ·
· BEWARE OF MANDURUGAS NA TAXI DRIVERS SA NAIA. once is enough, but twice is too much nga naman talaga. i went to T2 last week to pick up my friend who came from vietnam. pumara kami ng taxi. friendly yung driver at nakikipagbiruan. after 5mins napansin ko na hindi sya nakametro. tinanong ko kung bakit walang metro tapos inabot nya agad yung laminated paper na may pricelist. papunta kaming MOA para mag dinner sana. nakita ko yung pasay rate $38 tapos basic pay sa driver $20 kaya ang total ng kaylangan kong ibigay ay $58! isang malaking kalokohan. sabi ko sa driver itabi ang taxi at bababa nalang kami kasi wala kaming ganung halaga at nagsundo lang naman kami. dapat daw ready kami kasi may kasama kaming foreigner, pero hindi yun rason para magbayad kami ng ganun. nakipagtalo ako sa driver hanggang sa sinabi ko na ibaba nalang kami at bibigyan ko sya ng P200. nakaka init ng ulo pero pinalipas ko kasi nakakahiya naman sa bisita ko. after 1 week, bumalik kami sa NAIA pero T3 naman this time. hinatid namin yung kaibigan ko sa airport. pag uwi namin ng kasama ko, pumara kami ng taxi, sabi namin glorietta, makati lang. pag sakay namin kinakausap kami ng kinakausap, tapos nakita kong nakatakip ng sumbrero yung metro. kinutuban ako, gang sa inabutan nanaman ako nung laminated paper na may pricelist. napailing ako at sinabi ko sa driver na ito nanaman! last week ganito rin! ano bang akala nyo sakin? mayaman?! glorietta lang ang pupuntahan ko tapos libo ang babayaran ko? sa isip ko, baguio ba ang punta ko?! sinabihan ko yung driver na itabi ang taxi at bababa nalang kami pero ayaw nyang itabi, kaylangan ko raw magbayad kahit yung rate lang daw nila ng pasay. nagtaas na ako ng boses at nasigawan ko na sya, sinabihan ko sya na kapag di nya kami ibinaba, tatawagan ko nanay ko na nagtatrabaho para sa gobyerno at may koneksyon sa mga pulis at irereport ko sya. hindi kami ibinaba kaya napilitan na ako tawagan nanay ko. nanginig si kuya nung narinig na nya boses ng nanay ko at nag uusap kami na irereport namin sya sa pulis. papayag na daw sya na P150 ang ibigay ko kumalma lang daw ako. ako pa daw ang matapang at nananakot sabi ng driver. e mas nakakatakot nga yung presyo nya samin. sa gate 1 daw dapat ako pumara ng taxi kasi andun daw yung mga de metro, ako pa ang tinuruan ni kuya e ilang beses na ako pabalik balik dun at sya lang ang natyempohan ko na nandurugas. nagdahilan pa sya na nagtatrabaho lang naman daw sya, e kuya ako rin naman, tinatrabaho ko rin ang perang nakukuha ko pero hindi sa maruming paraan. bago kami bumaba, nakiusap sya na sana tapos na daw ang gulo na nangyari at wag ko na daw sya ireport. malas lang nya kasi hindi ako nag to-tolerate ng mga manlolokong tao. kinuha ko yung plate number, pipicturan ko pa sana yung taxi nya pero nagmadali syang umalis. Just in case na mapapadpad kayo sa airport, kahit anupamang terminal yan, mag-ingat po tayo, kasi nagsikalat na sila, kung sakali man na makasakay kayo sa ganyang taxi e pangunahan nyo sila, takutin nyo, titiklop din naman mga yan sa bandang huli. yun lang :)
As you can see, he was very pissed—not just of the hassle but also because of the bad impression our country was giving to his friends visting the country.
Con Gasmen, a multimedia graphic designer with Buyanihan Digital, experienced two taxi scams last month. He said that his friends also reported similar experience not just at the airport but along NAIA road. His friends thought they were getting inside a regular metered taxi to later be informed of the inflated taxi rates.
What about you, do you have a similar experience? Could you share it?
We need to crack down on these scamming taxi drivers and their collaborators at the airport as this gives our country a bad reputation. It also casts in a bad light other taxi drivers who are decent and hard-working. If you encounter something like this, I suggest you either demand to get off or refuse to pay the exorbitant amount. Make sure to snap a picture of the license plate number and ID with your mobile camera and upload a report to http://www.taxikick.com.
I believe these erring taxi drivers will back down as it is in their best interest not to aggravate passengers to the extent that they will actually report the drivers.
When in Manila, we can meet so many wonderful people and enjoy so many great experiences. We just have to be extra alert to a few rotten apples.
License plate number of the taxi who tried to charge him over a thousand pesos – UVR 789.