Bill of rights for passengers, pedestrians in Baguio proposed

THE Baguio City Council approved on first reading a proposed ordinance declaring the bill of rights for passengers and pedestrians in the city and for other purposes it may serve.

Councilor Edgar Avila, in his proposed measure, said that effective upon its approval, every passenger of a public utility vehicle, Grab or Uber car or van, shall have the right to ride in a motor vehicle that is clean, fresh, in good condition and has passed all the requirements of law to quality for a franchise or permit to operate as a public utility service; must be driven by a Land Transportation Office-licensed driver in good standing with a copy of the licensed enlarged and clearly displayed in the vehicle; and with safe and courteous driver who obeys all traffic laws, rules and regulations.

The ordinance also said that passengers have a choice between a quiet trip free of audio or radio or in the alternative; a driver who does not use his mobile phone while driving; a smoke scent and odor-free ride; upon request, the use of the air conditioning or heater as the case may be; can use seatbelt as required; can be accompanied by his or her pet; can request to carry wheelchairs or other accessories for persons differently abled; be allowed bags and baggage.

Passengers must be able to see the meter at all times during their ride; be provided with a receipt upon request; to dictate the route that is taken during the ride even if it is not the shortest or most direct route to a destination, and refuse to pay the fare for violation of any of the above rights or of law.

All pedestrians will have the right to cross at peace in pedestrian lanes and for the said purpose, the King of the Road Ordinance or Ordinance No. 07, series of 2010 will be amended and will hereby mandate all motorists are required to fully stop for 10 seconds at least five meters before a pedestrian lane and shall not commence to proceed when there is visible to the eye of the driver a pedestrian starting to cross a road or street.

Violations of the pertinent provisions of the ordinance shall also be fined P1,000 for the first offense; confiscation of driver’s license and a fine of P1,000 for the second offense and a fine for both driver and operator in the amount of P2,000 for the second offense and confiscation of driver’s license and a fine of P3,000 and a fine for both driver and operator and revocation of driver’s license, franchise and permit to operate a public utility vehicle for the third offense.

The ordinance added all offenders who are apprehended for second and third offenses shall undergo a mandatory seminar before their driver’s license shall be released to them by the apprehending officers.

Avila said the King of the Road Doctrine should now be a policy of the local government and appropriately declares a bill of rights for passengers and pedestrians in the city and it seeks to improve the city standards of public transport and protect not only the city’s citizenry but also the tourists that visit the city.

Majority of the city’s population are riders of public transport, thus, the need to protect the commuting public from unfair and unsafe practices of public utility drivers and operators.

Subsequently, the ordinance seeks to establish better public perception of the taxi services in general and that there is also a need to amend the said ordinance to better serve the inhabitants, particularly the senior citizens and differently abled persons. (PR)
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