This Senate bill wants to protect taxi passengers from abusive drivers
Know your rights as a taxi passenger
Sep 12, 2019
This story does not generalize all taxi drivers.
If there’s one unfortunate instance when I caught myself in a regular taxi cab, it would be when I was riding one from the street across Ninoy Aquino International Airport Terminal 3 in Pasay going to Baclaran. The meter started increasing from the minimum P40 to P70 in a matter of a few seconds as the vehicle started moving.
An instinct came to me that I need to get off the taxi as soon as possible before things got worse. When I told the driver to pull up on one side of the road, I slowly opened the door and slowly alighted myself from the vehicle. He pulled me by backpack and let me sit again. I realized I needed to escape but he was continuously pulling me until I finally got myself off from the vehicle. I found him laughing as he drove away.
It’s one traumatic story for a commuter like me but there are countless untold stories from daily commuters in other public vehicles, too.
In an effort to protect taxi passengers from abusive drivers, Senate Bill 730 filed by Senator Sherwin Gatchalian seeks to “protect the commuting public from abusive, itinerant, and discourteous drivers and provide sanctions for the offenses they commit against the riding public.”
The bill states the rights of taxi passengers such as:
- Be served by a taxi driver who is properly dressed. Taxi companies should ensure that their taxi drivers wear the prescribed uniform and company identification card at all times while on duty.
- Be served by a courteous driver who shall provide assistance, if requested.
- Be served by a driver who is not under the influence of alcohol or dangerous drugs.
- Be informed of the plate number of the taxi and emergency numbers for assistance by the Philippine National Police and other concerned agencies by the prominent display of this information on the side door or in any other conspicuous place within the taxi.
- Be picked up and transported to their stated destination, regardless of the length of the journey or traffic condition, by any available on-duty taxi driver, subject to applicable traffic regulations.
- Direct the route, or expect the most economical route, except where such route will endanger the lives of the occupants or will cause damage to the taxi.
- View the taxi fare meter that shall be duly calibrated and sealed by the proper authorities.
- Pay the rate exactly as posted in the meter, subject to other government-sanctioned fees.
- Be given the exact amount of change.
- Be issued a printed official receipt in accordance with the requirement of the National Internal Revenue Code and applicable regulations issued by the Bureau of Internal Revenue.
- Travel with an animal assistant or portable mobility aid, if the passenger is with disability.
- Refuse multiple hiring.
- A quiet or silent atmosphere throughout the trip upon request.
- Decide on the orientation of air conditioning and lighting systems inside the taxi.
- A substitute taxi or to be assisted to procure one in case of mechanical or engine trouble or other similar instances that hinder the continuation of carriage.
Drivers and operators who violate these regulations will be fined from P1,000 to P5,000 and may face license suspension.
The bill also states that if such rights are violated, taxi passengers may file a complaint to the driver or operator of the taxi with the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board which “will conduct the investigation and resolve the complaint not later than seven (7) working days after the mediation.”
Although there are a lot of things to be done in solving commuting and transportation issues, we only hope for the government to give commuters their rights in public spaces.
Header photo courtesy of Inquirer.net
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