Poe bill seeks priority seats for elderly passengers
Senator Grace Poe has filed a measure requiring the reservation and designation of priority seats for the elderly not only on land transportation but also in air and sea transport.
“Nararapat lamang na bigyang prayoridad ang kapakanan ng mga nakatatanda sa mga pampublikong transportasyon sapagkat hindi biro ang kalagayan nila at kadalasan sila ay may iniindang sakit o madaling mapagod. Unahin natin sila,” Poe said in a statement on Tuesday.
(It is only right to give priority to the welfare of the elderly in modes of public transportation because their condition is not a trivial issue, and they could be feeling something or get tired easily. Let’s prioritize them.)
While there are currently reserved seats for the elderly on land transportation, the senator noted that there are “no hard rules” mandating the designation of priority seating for them in air and sea transport.
“This representation has received complaints that in some instances, senior citizens are transferred, on the last minute, to seats that are either far away from their companions and do not take into account their convenience or health status,” she said in filing Senate Bill No. 1367.
Thus, her bill seeks to provide priority seating for the elderly on jeepneys, buses, rail services, and commercial air and sea transport providers.
“If enacted, it ensures that the seats closest to the entrance doors will be reserved for the elderly and they cannot be transferred to other seats on commercial air and sea transport without one week of prior notice,” said the senator.
Under the bill, all public utility vehicles (PUVs), public utility buses (PUBs), rail transport providers, and air and sea transport should reserve and designate the “best possible seats” for senior citizens.
“The priority seats should be clearly labelled to indicate that passengers may use them but must vacate them if they are needed by an elderly passenger. Provided, that passengers who are pregnant or disabled shall be exempted from this provision,” it said.
Commercial air and sea transport providers, meanwhile, should ensure that priority seats are made available to elderly passengers during the reservation of seats. They may not be transferred to other seats or bumped off without at least one week of prior notice and without reason, the bill further said.
If enacted, any PUV or PUB operator who would not comply with the proposed law may be imprisoned from two months to one year or pay up to P5,000 fine while any rail transport operator may be slapped with up to P30,000 fine or face up to two years in jail.
Up to 10 years imprisonment or a fine of up to P500,000, meanwhile, awaits any commercial air or sea transport provider who would violate the law. IDL/rga