House bill protects riders from chatty cabbies
TALKATIVE cab drivers may soon be compelled under pain of a fine or suspension to keep quiet “upon request” if Congress approves the proposed “Bill of Rights of Taxi Passengers.”
The bill enumerating the Do’s and Don’ts for taxi drivers during cab rides—including being properly dressed, drug-free, and to not be choosy of passengers—was approved on Wednesday by the transportation committee of the House of Representatives.
The committee voted to approve a consolidated version of the measures introduced by six lawmakers, including its chair, Catanduanes Rep. Cesar Sarmiento.
Among other things, the bill states that taxi passengers are entitled to “a quiet or silent atmosphere throughout the trip upon request.”
They are also allowed to ask the driver to lower or raise the thermostat or “decide on the orientation of air-conditioning and lighting systems inside the taxi.”
The measure lists down other requirements expected of taxi drivers, such as the display of an official identification card, the plate number and emergency numbers on the side door, and a duly calibrated and sealed fare meter.
They are also supposed to be “courteous,” free of the influence of drugs or alcohol, and to give the exact change for the fare.
The bill also seeks to protect passengers from fussy or selective drivers “regardless of the length of the journey or traffic condition, by any available on duty taxi driver, subject to applicable traffic regulations.”
It also ensures that passengers with a disability will be able to ride a taxi with an animal assistant or portable mobility aids.
Under the bill, passengers may file a complaint for any violations against the driver or the operator with the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB).
Violators shall pay fines ranging from P1,000 on the first offense to P5,000 on the third or succeeding offense, and have their license suspended for seven days on the first offense to up to a year on the third or succeeding offenses.
“In all cases, the erring driver or operator shall undergo an education seminar,” according to the bill.
The bill also mandates the LTFRB in coordination with other agencies to organize a nationwide information campaign about taxi passengers’ rights.
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