Public transport regulatory and enforcement agencies have strongly endorsed the enactment of legislative proposals establishing the rights of passengers of taxis, tourists car transport services (TCTS) and other vehicles for hire to ensure their safety and protection.
Officials of various government agencies lauded the proposal that seeks to impose graduated fines and penalties for public utility vehicle drivers and operators found guilty of overcharging, treating passengers with disrespect and putting their lives in danger during a ride.
The bills authored by Reps. Eric Go Yap (ACT CIS Partylist) and Edgar Y. Aglipay (DIWA Partylist) covers only the rights of passengers of taxis, TCTS and other vehicles. However, heads of government agencies appealed for the inclusion of commuters of any PUV.
In a virtual hearing conducted by the House Committee on Transportation, Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board Chairman Martin Delgra said the “noble objectives of the bills” should be extended toward protecting the rights of passengers of all modes of public transport.
Land Transportation Office chief Assistant Secretary Edgar Galvante called on the authors to include as penalty the cancellation of driver’s license of habitual offenders.
On the other hand, the PNP-Highway Patrol Group represented in the congressional hearing by Col. Oliver Tanseco, appealed to authors to include provisions that would ensure the installation of safety devices and guarantee the road worthiness of for hire vehicles.
In pushing for the swift approval of the measure, Yap noted reports of passengers being subjected to various abuses by drivers, including overcharging, rudeness and in the case of women, sexual harassment.
According to Yap the excesses and abusive behavior passengers are forced to experience has “created a demand for ride sharing” schemes that ensure safety and courtesy towards passengers.
“Through attainable means, taxis, TCTS and VHF (vehicles for hire) should be able tot provide a service that is at par with those which ride sharing apps give, in order to protect the rights of passengers,” said Yap.
For his part, Aglipay underscored the need for passengers to be accorded transportation service that is of “world class level.”
“Not only will this bill ease the traffic by discouraging private car ownership and use, it will also serve the benefit of the riding public, as well as generate more revenue for our taxi drivers and taxi operators in the long run,” Aglipay stated.
Common in the two bills are provisions ensuring good grooming and proper dressing by the driver; courtesy towards the passenger and charging of correct fare.
Yap, in his bill, said the rights of passengers should include being served by the driver who is not under the influence of alcohol or drugs; be picked up and transported to and from the stated destination; and be given the exact amount of change, among others.
In his bill, Aglipay provided that the rights of a passenger should include being transported by a clean and safe vehicle and the refusal for multiple hiring.
Passengers must also be brought to the destination of choice through the shortest or most economical route.
“Travel with an assistance dog or portable mobility aid will also have to be permitted by the driver,” said Aglipay.