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Japanese, Korean firms eyeing taxi franchises in Davao

Abdulgafar Mohammad, regional director of the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB), said this could boost the taxi modernization effort they started earlier this year January up to 2009 when all taxi units running in the city shall have installed airconditioning systems and the old units already fully refurbished.

He said they the investors first went to the LTFRB office in Manila and were referred to the local office here recently.

Mohammad did not identify the firms but revealed they have 60-40 ownership arrangements with their respective Filipino partners.

He said the investors showed interests in separate taxi services but have not indicated when they would like to start operations.

The Japanese firm, Mohammad said, is eyeing an initial 50-unit modern taxi fleet at the Davao International Airport.

The Korean firm, on the other hand, is interested to operate a 100-unit service in the downtown area.

Mohammad said the two firms will use brand new cars in the operations estimated to sum up to P75 million in combined costs.

He said it could boost their modernization effort in Davao City, which he said is the only city in the Philippines that allows the use of non-airconditioned and dilapidated cars as taxi units.

Davao City's franchise quota, Mohammad noted, could still accommodate new applications as some existing franchises are subject to cancellation.

He said local big taxi operators with at least 100 units — such as Maligaya, Holiday and Mabuhay — have already started buying new units or upgrading their older vehicles in accordance with the modernization plan.

He said Davao City has a total of 200 brand new taxi cabs as of April.

He said they will start to strictly monitor the modernization effort next year, when all taxi units should not be more than six years old from date of manufacture.

Mohammad said among the biggest reasons behind the modernization after years of allowing the non-airconditioned units to thrive was the city’s embarrassment in 2005 when it had to bring in presentable taxi cabs from Cagayan de Oro City for the Asean Tourism Forum. (Walter I. Balane / MindaNews)

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