BAGUIO CITY – The City Council approved on first reading a proposed ordinance known as the Baguio City Taxi Passengers’ Rights Measure.
The ordinance authored by Councilor Leandro B. Yangot, Jr. stated it shall be the policy of the local government to have all taxis licensed and shall be clean, safe, smoke-free and in good running condition.
Under the proposed ordinance, taxi passengers have the right to be served by a taxi driver who is properly dressed; be served by a courteous driver who shall provide assistance upon request; be served by a driver who is not under the influence of alcohol or dangerous drugs; be informed of the license plate number of the taxi and emergency numbers for assistance by the Philippine National Police (PNP) and other concerned agencies by the prominent display of the said information on the side door and in any other conspicuous places within the taxi; be picked up and transported to their stated destination, regardless of the length of the journey or traffic condition, by any available on duty taxi driver, subject to applicable traffic regulations; direct the route or expect the most economical route, except where such route will endanger the lives of the passengers or will cause damage to the taxi; view the taxi fare meter that shall be duly calibrated and sealed by the proper authorities; pay the rate exactly as posted in the meter, subject to all government sanctioned fees; be given the exact amount of change; be issued a printed official receipt in accordance with the requirements of the Internal Revenue Code and applicable regulations issued by the Bureau of Internal Revenue; travel with an animal assistance portable mobility aid if the passenger is with disability; refuse multiple hirings; have a quiet or silent atmosphere during the trip upon request; decide on the orientation of air conditioning and lighting systems inside the taxi; decide whether to give the driver a tip; and have a substitute taxi or to be assisted to procure one in case of mechanical or engine trouble or other similar instances that hinder the constitution of carriage where in such case, the passengers shall only pay the amount appearing in the meter less the flag down fee.
The ordinance stipulated that the rights of taxi passengers and the remedies and procedures available to the passengers as promulgated by the Land Transportation Franchising Regulatory Board (LTFRB) which shall conduct the investigation and resolve the complaint not later than 7 working days after mediation, or 7 working days after adjudication, under such rules and regulations as it may provide.
Taxi drivers who shall violate the provisions of the ordinance shall be penalized by a fine of P1,000 and suspension for the first offense, a fine of P3,000 and 6-month suspension of driver’s license for the second offense and a fine of P5,000 and 1-year suspension of driver’s license for the third and succeeding offenses, aside from the penalties to be imposed by existing rules and regulations.
Further, the ordinance added the liability of the operator or taxi company with respect to the fine imposed in the case of an insolvent taxi driver shall be subsidiary.
For violations of other provisions of the ordinance, a fine ranging from P1,000 to P5,000 shall be imposed for any violation at the discretion of the LTFRB. In all cases, the erring driver or operator shall undergo an education seminar as prescribed.
By Dexter A. See