The popularity of regular taxi cabs has declined in the past few years, perhaps in part because of the rise of ride-sharing transport services, but also because taxi drivers aren't exactly known for being very accommodating. The excuses that operators come up with don't help, either. A new bill now seeks to improve and regulate the taxi-riding experience, so you may just find yourself rethinking your taxi boycott. On September 12, the House of Representatives passed House Bill No. 7774, also known as the "Bill of Rights of Taxi, Tourist Car Transport Service and Vehicle for Hire Passengers," on its second reading. The bill seeks to protect and establish the rights of passengers of taxis, tourist car transport services, and other similar modes of transportation.
Under this bill, all passengers have the right to be served by a properly dressed driver in uniform and company ID at all times. The bill enumerates the other rights of taxi passengers, which are as follows:
- The right to a courteous driver who is not under the influence of alcohol or drugs;
- The right to be picked up and transported to their stated destination, regardless of the length of the journey or traffic condition, by any available on-duty driver;
- The right to direct the route, unless such route would endanger the lives of the occupants or will cause damage to the covered vehicle;
- The right to pay the exact fare exactly as posted in the meter or booking application, receive the exact amount of change, and be issued a printed, electronic or digital official receipt;
- The right to a quiet atmosphere throughout the trip upon request, and the decision over the orientation of air conditioning and lighting systems inside the covered vehicle.
If passed into law, the bill seeks to penalize violators with a P1,000 fine and seven-day driver's license suspension for the first offense, a P3,000 fine and a six-month license suspension for the second offense, and P5,000 and a one-year license suspension for the third offense.