A single customer getting ripped off by a taxi driver is not the sort of thing merits an official government response, except in rare cases such as when that customer is a member of an incredibly popular K-Pop band.
SEVENTEEN just performed two packed concerts for their “Be the Sun” world tour at the Mall of Asia Arena in Pasay City over the weekend after arriving in the country on Friday. But it was actually the second trip to the capital region for one of their members in as many months, and the first one did not go well.
During an earlier livestream, band member Joshua Hong revealed that he experienced some unfortunate incidents during a spontaneous trip to Manila he took with his mother last month. The star, who holds US citizenship, was originally en route to Vietnam for a vacation but realized too late that he needed a visa to enter the country.
Already at the airport, he decided to book a last-minute flight to Manila with his mom. Upon his arrival, he said he experienced several difficulties in the capital including not being able to withdraw money from an ATM, not being able to use his credit card at a hotel and a convenience store, and getting charged over PHP1,000 (US$18) by a taxi driver, which would be about triple the standard fare for the trip.
“I’m not saying Manila is a bad place to travel,” the star explained in his livestream. “I’m just sharing my own experience, and this is the sort of thing that can happen to you if you go on a trip without making any plans in advance.”
The Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) has released a statement condemning the driver who overcharged Hong.
“The LTFRB strongly condemns the abuse done by some Public Utility Vehicle (PUV) drivers in overcharging fares for their passengers,” the agency wrote in Filipino. “This follows the statement of Joshua Hong, a member of the popular boy band Seventeen, who was asked about his experience in the country after he arrived to celebrate Chuseok or Korean Thanksgiving last month.”
“It is never acceptable to the LTFRB for PUV drivers to deceive their passengers in this manner — whether they be locals or foreigners,” the LTFRB added, reminding drivers to follow the rules and guidelines set by the agency, and that violators may face penalties and a cancellation of their Certificate of Public Convenience (CPC) that allows them to ply the roads as public vehicles.