Monday, July 30, 2012

Car Features - Taxicabs Across the Philippines

This feature article serves as a stop gap one to ease your waiting for the next used car review, which will be posted in the first day of August. So, let's talk about the taxicabs roaming around the different parts of the country. If you think Metro Manila cabs are a monotony of white and yellow, Corollas and Vioses, let's see what cabs could you see in different cities.

Based from available photos, high raised vehicles are dominant in the Summer Capital's streets. AUV's such as the Mitsubishi Adventure, Isuzu Crosswind, Toyota Revo, and Toyota Avanza rule the streets. On the other hand, sedans such as the good old Toyota Corolla and Kia Pride are not to be forgotten. If you think you can haul the clan in an Adventure taxi, the rear jump seats are folded since they are metered, not the popular Mega taxis. And in that case, five people (driver included) can hop in. The good thing is that, flag down rate is P25 and drivers are friendly.

Mitsubishi Adventure taxi
Kia Pride taxi with Tamaraw FX cabs in the background

With a trip back in 2009 as well as a story from a friend who lives there, taxicabs are not metered and you'll have to bargain. You could see them in the Balibago area, SM Clark, Diosdado Macapagal International Airport, and in the friendship gate. Common cabs include Love Life Corollas, N13 Sentras (when it was the base model of the Exalta series), and Pizza Lancers (most of them are GLX models from 2000-2002). In total, taking a cab as what one travel site said, cabbies are notorious for not using their meters and prices can get high.

You might not know taxicabs existed in Legazpi City, albeit in small numbers. Taxi services can be had courtesy of Early Riser and Taxi Cool. If Manila cabbies prefer the Vios, Bicolano drivers choose the Avanza due to the road conditions present in Bicol, since they tend to bring tourists to Donsol, Sorsogon, Daraga, Albay (Mount. Mayon), and other places. Hyundai Accents are also being used due to the fact that it uses diesel.

Two Hyundai Accent taxis by Early Riser
A Toyota Avanza taxi

This bustling city in the island of Panay has a variety of taxicabs. While most of them are white in color, they're more brighter thanks to the usage of light colors when it comes on writing their names and other related information. A variety of taxis are used such as the Toyota Vios, Corolla, and Avanza, Hyundai Accent, Nissan Sentra, Kia Rio, and Chevrolet Aveo. If you're in a hurry, you can hail one outside of any major mall (SM, Robinsons, Gaisano, Marymart, etc).

Vios taxis queuing up outside Iloilo International Airport
Hyundai Accent taxi outside SM City Iloilo
A Toyota Avanza taxicab

In the City of Smiles, you can hail a cab almost anywhere. Common taxicabs include the Toyota Vios, Avanza, and Corolla, Nissan Sentra, Hyundai Accent, Kia Rio, and Chevrolet Aveo. The same comment goes for Iloilo, they use bright colors in their names, numbers, and other related information. One company has their fleet in blue and it would be an interesting sight.

A Chevrolet Aveo taxicab
A Corolla taxicab parked
This is what I'm referring to, a blue taxicab. 
Arriving at the busy Mactan-Cebu International Airport will lead you to ride what is familiar in Metro Manila, yellow airport taxis or Coupon taxis in short. However, staying in the city? You'll have to hail a cab and they will let you in. Beware, taxis are in shortage whenever a huge event happens in the city. The good thing is that, a fruit salad of taxis of various makes and models which include (as I saw these back in 2011) surplus units of Kia Sephia and Avella and local Hyundai Matrixes. Their top indicates if its occupied or vacant, which is a good thing especially at night.

Corolla taxicab in downtown Cebu
Kia Rio taxicab
Toyota Vios taxicab outside Cebu City

This quiet city has one taxi company in operation, Arari Negros Taxi or ANT for short. If you want a cab, better ask for their number once you arrive since you'll have to flag a tricycle. Just a fact: Cebu's KEN Taxi used to operate back in the 90s but pulled out due to financial woes.

Hyundai Sonata (imported ones from South Korea) taxis by ANT

Only one company operates a fleet of Avanza taxicabs in the city, to think that no Toyota sales outlet exist in the province of Leyte. A browse from Google Images that these taxicabs are operated by Michael J. Lhuiller - the one person who mans the pawnshop and fresh farm chicken selling. Another cheap alternative is the open Spyder taxis, which could be hailed anywhere.

The pawnshop magnate has a pool of taxicabs 
An Avanza taxi roaming the streets of Tacloban
A Spyder taxicab

If you plan to sell your Corolla Altis, you might want to sell it to Cagayan de Oro since 90% (an estimate based on videos and pictures) are, you guessed it right, Corolla Altises. Rumor has it that if you ride an Altis taxi, you are sosyal while local cabbies are itching to drive one. The rest of the 10% are a mix of Nissan Sentras, Kia Avellas, Toyota Avanzas, Toyota Vioses and Toyota Corollas. Besides, a taxi driver told me previously that "bawat driver gusto makapagmaneho ng Altis".

A line of Corolla Altises (photo from Michael Ray)
A Toyota Corolla Altis taxi
Maiba naman tayo, Nissan Sentra taxi

Tired of the monotonous white taxicabs roaming around Metro Manila? Travel down to Davao City and you'll be surprised with the various colors of taxis roaming the streets. You'll see white, yellow, silver, blue, orange, even black and violet! There are a variety of brands and makes in Davao, and even the most friendliest drivers in the country. As I write this, a certain company now accepts debit cards and ATM cards as payments. You might not know that their cabs have GPS and TV screens in the rear, it is not the scariest place to hop in a cab. In the past, non-aircon taxis exist but they are phased out in recent years.

Black Nissan Sentra taxicab
A taxicab traversing a flooded street
Lines of Kia Avella and Rio cabs
Blue Toyota Vios taxi with LED light on top
Maligaya taxi cab
A non-aircon taxi. Notice the open windows
Purple taxicab
Two taxicabs in downtown Davao

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