Bill to protect commuters vs abusive drivers filed

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MANILA, Philippines — A Senate bill which intends to protect riders from erring public conveyance drivers and to set standards for public utility vehicle (PUV) services has been filed.

This is through opposition Senator Leila de Lima’s Senate Bill No. 1165 or the “Passenger Transit Rights Acts of 2019.” It wants to “establish clear standards of service to the riding public and provide relief against unprofessional and abusive drivers.”

De Lima lamented the exposure of commuters to risks under the control of drivers who do not prioritize the safety of passengers.

Exposed to this unfortunate experience and a daily exposure to risks and accidents, under the hands of drivers and operators having very little to no regard to the rights of commuters, it, therefore, becomes obligatory upon the State to ensure their safety whenever they avail of services,” De Lima said in a statement Friday (15 November 2019).

Under the bill, minimum standards that must be upheld by PUVs include “any passenger’s right to travel while sitting throughout the journey, enjoy a safe ride, request and receive exact change, and provide free, dry, appropriate, well-lit and secure waiting sheds, among others.”

Also, the proposed measure states that drivers can not demand a higher fare than indicated in the fare matrix provided by the government agencies concerned and that metered vehicles can not refuse passengers on the distance or heavy traffic ground.

In addition, the bill mandates the establishment of a Passenger Transit Rights Commission to ensure compliance with the aforementioned standards.

“The Commission will not only evaluate the conditions to which the riding public are exposed, it shall also study and lay down contingency plans so that instances where technical glitches create additional burden for commuters to suffer from, immediate and efficient assistance and resolution shall be delivered by the concerned government agency or office,” De Lima said.

It also seeks to establish a Transportation Action Center (TAC) that “shall be in charge of receiving and adjudicating passenger complaints.” (Chris Figueroa/IAMIGO/CNS)

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