By CLARISSA MOI
PEOPLE hiring taxis have the right to demand or request the driver to turn on the meter at the start of the journey, says the Independent Consumer and Competition Commission.
Commissioner Paulus Ain was responding to concerns raised on why some taxi drivers refuse to turn on the meter after being requested to do so by the hirer.
Ain pointed out that some people hiring taxis did not bother asking the driver to turn on the meter because they preferred to negotiate a fare which they thought could be cheaper.
Many taxi drivers in Port Moresby are reluctant to turn on the meter at the start of the journey blaming the commission for not setting a fair fare structure on it. Ain said the commission’s role under the Motor Traffic Act 1950 Chapter 243 by the Transport Department was to ensure meter calibration and that taxi fares were correctly set as per the commission’s approved taxi fares under the Prices Regulation Act Chapter 320.
He explained that the responsibility of enforcing compliance lay with the Road Traffic Authority as the licensing authority.
Questions sent to the authority last week have received no response.
Ain said the commission could not penalise taxi drivers and operators who refused to turn on their meters.
“The enforcement power to either enforce the use of taxi meters, penalise or seize taxi meters from non-compliant operators lies with the licensing authority,” he said.
“The ICCC will work with other government authorities such as the RTA to ensure established processes and procedures are set to address this issue.”
The Public Motor Vehicles and Taxi Fares 2019 guideline for taxis operating in major towns is a flag-fall of K1.90 plus K2.60 per kilometre for the duration of the journey.
Ain said the public motor vehicle and taxi pricing was currently under review.
The review is conducted every five years. The last review was in 2014 with the new pricing effective from 2015 to 2019.
“Whatever pricing is determined in the 2019 review will be effective from next January.
The ICCC will be publishing public notices to announce the details of this review and call for comments and submissions from the public and stakeholders.”
By CLARISSA MOI