Taxicab passengers have found an ally in the Senate as Sen. Miriam Defensor Santiago recently filed Senate Bill No. 1206, or the "Taxi Passenger Bill of Rights."
"There are too many disturbing reports of taxi drivers and operators who take advantage of their passengers, from mere discomfort or discourtesy to robbery and physical harm," said Santiago. "It's high time this transport sector shaped up."
Santiago added that the bill aims to uphold taxi passengers' rights to "a taxi that is clean, smoke-free and in good repair; a courteous and helpful driver; and the most economical route."
According to the bill, taxi drivers and operators are required to prominently display the driver's identification card, with the driver's and operator's names, contact details, and picture.
If signed into law, first-time violators will be fined up to P2,000, while second-time offenders will be fined P5,000. A P10,000 fine will be slapped for the third and succeeding violations, together with the suspension of the driver's license.
Displaying the Taxi Passenger Bill of Rights inside the cab will also be required, including information on how to report violations and file a complaint with the Land Transportation and Franchising Regulatory Board. Failure to implement this shall correspond to a P3,000 fine.
"We need to enact a law to protect our commuting public, citizens and tourists alike, from the predatory practices of some taxi drivers and operators, and raise the service standard," Santiago declared. "By doing so, we would establish better public perception of the taxi service industry in general."