There was a time when conventional taxis were at least a bit better than what they are perceived to be now. I say “a bit” because then as now, unruly taxi drivers were quite rampant and many drivers were into negotiating fares or choosing passengers. But to those who remember the taxis from the 80s and the 90s, there was one R&E taxi company that was supposed to be more reliable than others. There was even one movie starring the father of a current presidential candidate where the recognized king of Philippine cinema played a taxi driver along with a host of popular basketball players. That was a time when people preferred R&E over other taxis and it was easy to spot their yellow and green cabs.
Then there was also Basic taxi company, which featured a phone-a-taxi (on demand) service. The wife used to call for a taxi to her home or office so she didn’t need to stand out to wait and hail a taxi when she had some heavy stuff with her. I was reminded of this feature of their service when I spotted a Basic taxi in front of our vehicle earlier today. Pick-up call services are still available and I guess there are other taxi companies with similar services for the convenience of passengers. However, with the eventual deregulation of taxis and the proliferation of individually owned cabs, services continued to deteriorate in Metro Manila and other cities.
These convenience features are not new ones as what it seems to younger people these days who have their Uber and Grab apps on their smart phones. I guess if there were smartphones in the 1980s and 1990s, then similar apps could have been developed for taxi services. I had written about one taxi company in Iloilo City that has these pick-up call services and an app for people who prefer to use these with their gadgets. One just wonders if conventional taxi companies could have been preferred by more people over Uber and Grab if their drivers were more professional (i.e., stuck to their meters and weren’t choosy of passengers).