An award-winning public servant from Valenzuela City has warned abusive taxi drivers during Christmas rush that their days are numbered once the “Bill of Rights of Taxi Passengers” becomes a law.
Valenzuela City Congressman Win Gatchalian admonished abusive taxi drivers as he is pushing for the swift passage of “House Bill No. 3681”, or more popularly known as the “Bill of Rights of Taxi Passengers”.
Gatchalian’s piece of legislation seeks to impose fines and penalties on erring taxi drivers who are the subject of numerous complaints especially during Christmas 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, force you to pay an extra amount on top of the meter bill,” Gatchalian said.
“(Some) 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 in his explanatory note.
Gatchalian, who represents Valenzuela City’s first district, pointed out that the countless complaints he received from his constituents and friends prompted him to file the “Bill of Rights of Taxi Passengers” and push for its approval in Congress.
“In order to address, this problem and prevent any more untoward incidents of this nature to occur in the future, a taxi 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,” he explained.
Under “H.B. 3681”, every cab passenger is entitled to the following rights:
- The right to a licensed driver who is properly dressed, courteous, and not under the influence of alcohol or drugs;
2. The right to ride in a clean, safe, and smoke-free taxi;
3. The right to be transported to their stated destination;
4. 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);
5. The right to be given the exact amount of change, and;
6. The right to ride a substitute taxi or be aided to get a new one in case of engine trouble, 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;
2. Indicate the taxi’s plate number, operator’s name, place of business, and contact number on the inside doors of the cab;
3. Display clearly the taxi passengers’ rights, the process of complaint-filing, and the contact details of the LTFRB;
4. Accept all trips regardless of length;
5. Avoid violating any law or traffic regulation;
6. Refrain from using a cellular phone while in transit;
7. Provide a clean, safe, smoke-free taxi;
8. Protect a passenger’s health or safety;
9. Refrain from soliciting or requiring passengers to pay more than the displayed meter fare, and;
10. 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.
Gatchalian, a vice chair of the House Committee on Metro Manila Development, said the LTFRB can actually enforce the duties and obligations of taxi drivers and operators enumerated in bill if it really wants to protect taxi passengers from abusive drivers.
“In the absence of a law, the LTFRB can exercise its authority over taxi drivers by making it mandatory for them to prominently display their ID cards inside the cab, so passengers would immediately know the identity of abusive drivers,” Gatchalian said.
He added the LTFRB can even deploy flying squads to various shopping malls this Christmas season to conduct random checks on taxi drivers who are known to be choosy in getting their passengers during the holidays. (Monica Cantilero)