Anticipating more congested roads with coming Christmas season, a veteran lawmaker is pushing for the passage of taxi passengers’ bill of rights to protect commuters from choosy and abusive cab drivers.
Valenzuela City Congressman Win Gatchalian filed House Bill No. 3681, also known as Bill of Rights of Taxi Passengers, with a goal of imposing fines and penalties on abusive cab drivers, who will be subjected to complaints amid the rush of upcoming yuletide season.
“We have seen countless videos and heard sordid stories of cab drivers who are abusive, negligent, and prey on unsuspecting passengers. They pick passengers on their own terms, refuse carriage for some destinations,” Gatchalian stated in the bill’s explanatory note.
“(They) force you to pay an extra amount on top of the meter bill, are discourteous and trick most passengers on circuitous routes to earn extra money. Most of the tourists who come to our country have fallen victims to these enterprising cab drivers,” he added.
Gatchalian pointed out that the countless complaints he received from his constituents and friends against erring taxi and cab drivers prompted him to file the Bill of Rights of Taxi Passengers and push for its swift passage into law.
“In order to address this problem and prevent any more untoward incidents of this nature to occur in the future, a passenger bill of rights is hereby proposed to protect the commuting public from abusive, itinerant, and discourteous drivers and provide a sanction for the offenses they commit against the riding public,” Gatchalian said.
Gatchalian, a senior vice chair of the House Committee on Metro Manila Development, said every taxi passenger is entitled to the following rights under his bill:
- The right to a licensed driver who is properly dressed, courteous, and not under the influence of alcohol or drugs;
- The right to ride in a clean, safe, and smoke-free taxi;
- The right to be transported to their stated destination;
- The right to view the metered fare and to request a receipt using a taxi meter calibrated and sealed by the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB);
- The right to be given the exact amount of change, and;
- The right to ride a substitute taxi or be aided to get a new one in case of engine trouble or similar instances, in which payment for the flag-down taxi rate will be waived.
Taxi drivers or operators, on the other hand, are expected to perform the following duties and obligations:
- Display his/her taxi driver’s license visibly to all passengers;
- Indicate the taxi’s plate number, operator’s name, place of business, and contact number on the inside doors of the cab;
- Display clearly the taxi passengers’ rights, the process of complaint-filing, and the contact details of the LTFRB;
- Accept all trips regardless of length;
- Avoid violating any law or traffic regulation;
- Refrain from using a cellular phone while in transit;
- Provide a clean, safe, smoke-free taxi;
- Protect a passenger’s health or safety;
- Refrain from soliciting or requiring passengers to pay more than the displayed meter fare, and;
- Know the major routes and destinations.
Under the measure, ill-treated passengers should file a personal complaint against the driver and operator of the taxi with the LTFRB.
Violating taxi drivers will be liable with their operators and will face a fine of at P500-P2,000 for the first offense; at least P1,000-P5,000 for the second, and; a minimum of P3,000 up to P10,000 as well as one-week suspension of the driver’s license and/or certificate of public convenience for the third and subsequent offenses. (Monica Cantilero)