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and taxi drivers

Taxis and their drivers

Taxis may only be found in cities. This means any town with the suffix "-City" like Cebu-City, Iloilo-City and so on. The reason is that tricycles are not allowed on main roads within cities. They are confined in the outskirts and adjacent barangays. With this rule city-mayors try to reduce the traffic congestions caused by the slow and fuming tricycles and motorelas.

Taxis can be found waiting at airports, sea ports and bus terminals. They can also be called in any spot in town by simply waving your hand.

More often you will be recognized as a tourist and each empty taxi approaches you, the driver honking like a madman.

Taxis are from "dealer new" Toyotas with a few 100 km of life to old, rusty Chryslers hold together with a lot of rusty wire and tape. On most taxis you can read "aircon".

This doesn't mean that the taxi is air-condtionned. It is a law in the Philippines to paint "AIRCON" on taxis. If not doing so, the owner is fined with PHP 750.

When the air condition works, you will freeze within the next mile, but most of the time it doesn't work and the driver holds his elbow out of the window. You can sit in the rear seats or in the front seat.

Lots of drivers are fine guys and give you free information about their city and much more. Unfortunately there are also less honest drivers and black sheeps. There are also places of real organized fraud, where we do not recommend to ride a taxi. Please sea below.

The Fares

There are 3 different official types of fares:

  • Fixed fares (coupon taxis)
  • Metered (yellow) airport taxis
  • Metered (white) common taxis

If you have never used a taxi in the Philippines, the "coupon taxis" might be best choice. Their fixed tariffs might be higher than the ones of the metered taxis, but only if their drivers are honest.

The tariffs for the yellow "airport" taxis are:

  • PHP 70 at flag fall, including the first 500 meters
  • PHP 4.00 every 300 meters afterwards.
  • PHP 4.00 every 2 minutes waiting or standing in traffic.

The tariffs for the white* "common" taxis are:

  • PHP 40 at flag fall, including the first 500 meters
  • PHP 3.50 every 300 meters afterwards.
  • PHP 3.50 every 2 minutes waiting or standing in traffic.

* They are not all white but most of them.


Sample of a correct taxi bill:


Old and new taxi meter:

Calculate fare and trip time

You need to install Google Earth on your device. Here you can download Google Earth for free.

Inside Google Earth move to the place where your taxi trip will happen. In our example we'll drive from Manila Airport NAIA-3 to the bus terminal in Cubao, Quezon City.

Click on the ruler and configure it to measure distances (not the way) and get units measured in kilometers.

Go to the start-point and click on it. Then move to the end-point and click again. You will get the direct distance. In our example it is 11.81 kilometers.

Our experience tells us that the real road distance is about 3 times the direct distance. So our sample trip will be 3 x 11.81 kilometers = 35.43 kilometers.

The yellow airport taxis charge PHP 70 at flag down, including the first 500 meters. So our bill is now 70 pesos and we still have 35 kilometers to go.

Every 300 meters cost 4.00 pesos. 35 kilometers are 35,000 meters. So we have 35,000/300 x 4.00 pesos = 466.66 pesos to add to the bill. The total bill is now 70 + 466.66 = 536.66 pesos.

You are not alone on the road. There is traffic, sometimes a lot of traffic with heavy traffic jams. This adds some waiting time to your bill. Every 2 minutes waiting are charged 4.00 pesos.

During night time from midnight to 05:00 a.m. we calculate 8 minutes waiting time for every 10 kilometers. Daytime, but off peak means 15 minutes waiting time every 10 kilometers and peak time means at least 30 minutes waiting time every 10 kilometers.

In the night you'll have to add 3.5 x 8 / 2 * 4.00 pesos = 56.00 pesos

During rush hours you will have to add 3.5 x 30 / 2 * 4.00 pesos = 210.00 pesos

The total bill is now PHP 592.66 in the night or PHP 746.66 during rush hours.

If your driver had been honest and didn't try to cheat, you should add a tip. Filipinos usually do not give tips, but why not honor a fast and safe trip!

Calculating the duration of the trip. It's difficult! Speeds between 10 km/h and 60 km/h are possible. Our example trip may last from 35 minutes to 3.5 hours!

The duration depends on the week-day and the hour of the day. Sundays are faster than work-days. Night is faster than day. Worst time to travel is between 06:30 and 09:00 a.m. and then from 04:00 to 9:00 p.m.

If we find a bit spare time, we'll program a fares and duration calculater. Next week maybe :)

The Drivers

Taxi drivers usually are neither owner of the taxi nor employees. The drivers rent the taxi per day from an owner of a car pool.

The driver has to pay between 1200 and 2400 pesos for a 24 hours use of the taxi. He has also to pay the fuel. One often sees taxi drivers getting gasoline or diesel for 100 pesos only, just enough for the next short trip of maybe 10 kilometers.

A honest driver can make up to 3600 pesos within 24 hours. But these means 2 naps of 4 hours and driving the remaining 16 hours, having the car always hired and doing short trips only. In real life a taxi driver earns maybe 1500 pesos a day.

This is why we always give a tip when driver is correct and helpful.

Read also the 'theoretical' passenger rights.


A common taxi in Manila:


Passenger rights (click to enlarge):

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