Temporary16-digit taxi plates irk netizens, consumer welfare group

October 5, 2014

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Social media users were aghast after a snapshot of what appears to be a cab bearing a 16-digit plate circulated online. As it turns out, the Land Transportation Office (LTO) had issued the plates to hundreds of new taxi units whose applications for franchise are still pending. Netizens expressed various levels of disappointment and disgust on Twitter and Facebook over the office’s questionable decision to authorize its use.


As regards to the citizen’s concern for safety, LTO spokesman Jason Salvador was quoted saying “Mas maganda kung majo-jot down nila yung mga numerong ito. Ngunit, kung nahirapan talaga sila, nandiyan naman yung mga company names, mga owners, ipagbigay-alam lang nila sa amin at agad-agad mahahanap naman namin kung sino ang may-ari.”


He likewise mentioned that the 16-digit plates used by the taxis are motor vehicle numbers, adding that they are using such to ensure the cabs are not fraudulent. According to him, the 16 digits are proof that the cab is legitimately registered. “Mahirap i-identify kasi napakahaba, pero dahil for-hire ‘to, kailangan talaga makita na duly registered kana. But this will not last for long,” Salvador said.


On its twitter account, the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) also addressed the issue, saying that “the 16 digit numbers in new taxis are motor vehicle file numbers that LTO assigns to a vehicle upon its registration with said agency.”


Change of Air

As if sensing the impending wrath of the people if allowing the use of the controversial temporary plates are not immediately lifted, LTO announced that cabs carrying the said plates are no longer allowed on the roads, saying it was only approved due to a shortage of license plates a few months ago.

Salvador said that once these cabs are spotted while on the road, regional officers will escort them to the regional office where their proper plates would be issued.


Plate Supply Shortage

Salvador said the agency has already solved the plate supply shortage and somewhat blamed the taxi operators for not claiming their newly issued plates and continuing to use the temporary ones. He likewise assured that plates will be replaced by next year as part of its Plate Standardization Program

When citizens were asked on their opinion on the 16-digit plate numbers, most of them were against it. One officer said, “nakakaduling minsan,” while a student said, “mahirap siya [i-memorize].”


Unknown to many, LTO and LTFRB have already started implementing a similar ordinance last month, issuing a 10-digit plate for public utility vehicles despite worries from Filipino commuters, who complained that it would be difficult for them to memorize the plate number in case of accidents. Earlier this last month, a taxicab with a 10-digit plate is seen in Quezon City.


When a reporter asked the president of National Center for Commuters’ Safety and Protection (NCCP), Elvira Medina for her comments, she blasted the LTO and its heads, saying “Magpapakita tayo sa kanya ng sampung numero, kung ma-remember niya in two seconds.”

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