The Consumer

Street vendors diversify

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Trust Filipinos to find solutions for emerging problems.

I have written before how taxi drivers often run out of paper for receipts before their shifts are over. If you take a cab at night, taxi drivers will often tell you they cannot issue receipts anymore because they have been unable to go back to their garages to get fresh supplies of paper.

Well, it appears some cigarette vendors now offer a solution to this problem and have added to their offering of cigarettes and candies. The other night, when my taxi had to stop for a red light, the driver bought the rolled tape of paper for the meter from a street vendor.

Now, unless the drivers do not really want to issue receipts, there seems to be no reason anymore to say they ran out of paper.

Speaking of taxis, I hope the radio station Yes FM is monitoring drivers that get its sticker, “Hindi Ako Isnabero.” A few weeks ago, I hailed a cab and was refused when I told the driver where I was going. Apparently, the couple who hailed him a few meters away from me was going where he wanted to go.

Will the radio station remove its sticker if people complain about taxis having them? How and where will passengers bring their complaints?

Welcome, but…

The announcement that the city of Manila will strictly implement a ban on smoking at the Rizal Park is well and good but the campaign should not stop there. I have written before about complaints from people who say many establishments in the city, like bistros and bars, have no designated smoking areas.

Drivers of public utility vehicles (PUV), particularly jeepneys, openly smoke when they are in Manila and put out their cigarettes once they enter another city. So I ask again: Is Manila the designated smoking area of Metro Manila?

I also agree with an Inquirer reader who says neatness and cleanliness should be required of PUV drivers. The Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA), during the time of chair Bayani Fernando, issued a directive banning drivers from wearing sleeveless shirts or sando and beach slippers when plying their routes.

For a very short while, drivers looked distinctly different from hoodlums and other criminal elements. But, like most things in this country, authorities soon forgot about their directive and drivers were only too happy not to make the effort to neaten themselves up. So you see behind the wheels of jeepneys, sometimes even taxis, men in shirts, often just sando, that look like they have not been washed for weeks. They wear slippers or sandals that display in full glory feet that have turned black from lack of washing.

MMDA chair Francis Tolentino can perhaps dig up that old ordinance and make sure it is strictly implemented this time. It will be more fun for foreign visitors if Filipino drivers do not stink and do not look like they jumped into their PUVs the moment they woke up without bathing, or even washing their faces, and changing their clothes.

Internet café makeover

A new Netopia, which opened recently at Megaworld’s Lucky Chinatown Mall in Binondo, Manila, promises patrons “better, faster and more convenient Internet facilities and café services.” The chain says it is pioneering a unique concept that reinvents the Internet-online experience of people who often spend time at coffee places visiting social networking sites.

Netopia says its new Internet café service features modern aesthetics and functionality. It also says its Internet connection will be high-speed, even as it offers a more diversified menu of premier coffee and pastries from the Vietnamese brand Highlands Coffee.

After the inauguration of the Chinatown branch, Netopia says it will be opening more outlets soon. Visit www.netopia.ph.

Send letters to The Consumer, Lifestyle Section, Philippine Daily Inquirer, 1098 Chino Roces Ave. cor. Mascardo and Yague Sts., 1204 Makati; fax 897-4793/94; or e-mail lbolido@inquirer.com.ph.

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