Long have you suffered taxi passengers but if only it were up to our solons, there would already be a law protecting you from abusive cab drivers.

Congresswoman Estrellita B. Suansing from the 1st District, Nueva Ecija is also now heading a technical working group (TWG) of the House Committee on Transportation and are developing a substitute bill for six proposals to a Bill of Rights for Taxi Passengers.

Some points of the bill have been already agreed upon and it includes drivers having and prominently displaying a sanctioned identification card with the driver’s name, picture and operator’s information & contact number; the right of passengers to secure an official receipt and decide on the route to take during the trip unless said route endangers their safety and that of the driver; the Land Transportation and Franchising Regulatory Board (LTFRB) must come up with a resolution to complaints filed by passengers on taxi drivers within seven days after mediation or after adjudication.

Once the substitute bill is finalized, the TWG will present it to the mother committee for discussion and approval.

Suansing previously House Bill 4016 or the proposed "Taxi Passenger Bill of Rights Act," which stipulates the right of a taxi passenger and provides penalties to erring taxi drivers.

"The measure aims to protect our commuting public, foreign or national, tourist or local, from the discourteous and unprofessional conduct of some taxi drivers. It also hopes to lift up the image of the taxi industry by establishing standards addressing the basic rights of the passenger," said Suansing.

Other proposed items on the bill include drivers being properly dressed and courteous to passengers; the taxi must have a duly calibrated and properly sealed taxi meter; passengers should have the option to pay the fare as exactly posted in the meter and be given the exact amount of change; a clean, smoke-free taxi in good working condition; travel with an assistance, animal or portable mobility aid; a quiet trip; have the air conditioning on or off; and a substitute taxi be provided or be assisted to get one in case the first taxi takes on mechanical trouble or other similar instances.

The proposed fine for misbehaving taxi drivers range from Php 500 to Php 10,000 depending on the violation plus the suspension of the driver’s license and/or Certificate of Public Convenience.

Rep. Lucy Torres-Gomez of the 4th District of Leyte also proposed House Bill 2346 that prohibits taxi drivers from asking for intended destination without allowing the passenger inside the taxi; charging a specific amount of fare; and not employing a taxi meter.

Gomez’s bill proposes a fine of P2,000 to P10,000 for the erring driver or operator and suspension of the driver's license and operating franchise. For third offense, the penalty shall be P50,000 for the erring company or operator and revocation of the driver's license and franchise.

Reps. Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo (2nd District, Pampanga) and her son Rep. Diosdado Macapagal Arroyo (2nd District, Camarines Sur) on the other hand authored House Bill 2669 that requires taxi drivers to give exact change to their passengers, noting that this practice has become rampant and should be penalized.

Their bill states a fine ranging from P1,000 to P5,000, and suspension of the taxi driver and his license.

Rep. Sherwin T. Gatchalian of the 1st District, Valenzuela City is the author of House Bill 3681 proposing a bill to protect the public from abusive, itinerant, discourteous taxi drivers and to sanction them for their offenses.

Gatchalian's bill comes with a fine of P500 to P10,000 and suspension of the driver's license and/or Certificate of Public Convenience, depending on the violation committed by the taxi driver.

Finally, Rep. Angelina D.L. Tan, M.D. of the 4th District, Quezon is the author of House Bill 3371, which requires establishments, such as malls and shopping centers, commercial areas, airports and bus terminals to put up designated taxi stands and to issue passenger stubs to provide the necessary information regarding the taxi vehicles that passengers will hire.