Roxas wants 'bill of rights' for commuters, drivers

Posted at 06/20/2012 10:05 PM | Updated as of 06/21/2012 9:47 AM

MANILA, Philippines - Jeepney, bus, and taxi passengers, as well as drivers, should have their own bill of rights to protect them from abuse, Transportation Secretary Mar Roxas said Wednesday.

Roxas, in a press statement, said he has ordered the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) to draft a bill of rights for public utility vehicle passengers to protect them from abusive drivers and operators.

He said the proposed bill of rights should also include provisions to safeguard drivers and operators against rude, offensive, and obnoxious passengers.

"Dahil hindi lamang mga pasahero ang kliyente ng LTFRB, magkakaroon din ng bill of rights para sa mga operators at saka sa mga drivers para mabawasan o matanggal yung subjectivity. Ibig sabihin, yung desisyon na personal ng tao," Roxas said.

Roxas compared the proposed bill of rights to to the one being crafted for airline passengers.

Roxas also ordered the LTFRB to improve procedures in issuing new land transport service route franchises; gradually convert public utility vehicles to use eco-friendly engines; and play a bigger role in the planned Integrated Transport System (ITS) project.

He said he wants the LTFRB to grant new route franchises through an open, transparent bidding process.

This will change the old practice in the bureaucracy that is riddled with patronage and subjectivity.

"Iyan ang isang magandang halimbawa ng mga patakaran na ipapatupad natin nang sa ganon malinaw, hayag, transparent at walang subjectivity, lahat objective measure ang mangyayari para pantay ang laban para sa lahat," Roxas said.

He said the LTFRB would play a key role is in the gradual conversion of public utility vehicles into environment-friendly means of transport to lessen air pollution in Metro Manila and other urban centers.

"Sa ngayon po mayroon ng almost na kalahating milyon na prangkisa ng sasakyan ang pumasada sa buong bansa na isa sa mga dahilan kung bakit ang hangin sa ating mga lansangan ay polluted na," Roxas said.

To address this concern, Roxas said DOTC is making further studies in cooperation with LTFRB and other organizations to look for a viable way to implement the conversion of jeepneys to use more eco-friendly engines.

Bus companies that are more capable of making the conversion will be the first ones covered by the new policy, he said.

Roxas also said that under the integrated transport system project, routes of provincial buses will be revised and they will only be allowed to get and drop passengers at central bus terminals at the outskirts of the metropolis.

The buses will no longer be allowed to enter Metro Manila to ease traffic and smoke emissions, he said.