LEARNING from the recent death of a female nursing student, Councilor Edison Bilog said rights of tax passengers have to be defined.

Bilog said although taxi drivers in Baguio are generally known to be honest, some taxi drivers and operators abuse the trust of commuters.

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"Some drivers and operators device schemes to increase their earnings sacrificing goodwill and quality of service along the way."

Bilog said some have defective meters, are overcharging, refuse to convey and refuse to flag down their taxi meters.

The councilor said the City Council has to enact an ordinance that would protect the community and tourists from the "predatory" practices of taxi drivers. He said service standards of taxi drivers here have to be raised.

"By doing so, we would establish better public perception to the taxi service in general."

Bilog's proposal for a transportation service standard includes the right to be conveyed to the exact destination of the passenger.

The councilor said meters have to be properly calibrated, drivers should be well-groomed, courteous and willing to assist passengers.

He also said taxicabs should be clean, smoke free and should undergo regular maintenance checks.

Bilog proposed, passengers also have a right to choose which route is shorter and therefore more economical, check the taxi meters and inspect a driver's identification card.

He said passengers also have a right to demand a quiet atmosphere inside the vehicle, be assisted when unloading baggage and pay only the amount written in the taxi meter.

Taxi drivers are also obliged to return properties left in a cab.

These rights, the councilor said must be displayed inside the vehicle.

Proposed penalties for violation include a reprimand for the first offense, P1,000 and imprisonment of not more than ten days for the second offense, P3,000 fine and imprisonment of not less than ten days for the third offense and for the fourth offense, P4,000 fine and imprisonment of not less than 20 days plus suspension of driver's license and certificate of public convenience.

For operators who admit a violation, Bilog proposed penalty will only be P1,000. (Rimaliza Opiña)