MANILA — Valenzuela City Rep. Win Gatchalian on Monday said he wanted to include taxi-related services, such as Uber and GrabCar in a substitute bill that seeks to create a “Bill of Rights for Taxi Commuters.”
Gatchalian is the author of House Bill 3681 or the “Bill of Rights of Taxi Passengers” and a member of a technical working group (TWG) tasked to consolidate his bill along with five other taxi-related measures.
In the second deliberation of the substitute bill on May 19, Gatchalian said app-based platforms that offer similar taxi services must be included in the proposed bill of rights to protect the interest of taxi passengers from abusive, itinerant and discourteous drivers.
“Passengers of private vehicles in from these app-based online platform should be entitled the same rights in riding a normal taxi. They are being hired to transport to a specified point A to point B,” the veteran solon said.
“This will ensure that the bill of rights will have a broader scope in protecting the interest of commuters. It will also give justice to the taxi drivers that will be covered by this proposed substitute bill,” the lawmaker added.
Early this month, the Department of Transportation andCommunication (DOTC) has issued Department Order 2015-14 to allow app-based online services such as Uber and GrabCar to operate legally as Transportation Network Companies (TNCs) that offers Transportation Network Vehicle Service (TNVS).
Under the new classification, Uber and GrabCar are now allowed as an online platform to connect passengers to private car owners who engage in a car-for-hire services, which is similar to services offered by a taxi drivers.
Much like public utility vehicles (PUVs), private car owners will be required to obtain a certificate of public convenience (CPC) for every vehicle, while drivers must be screened and accredited by the TNCs and registered with the LTFRB.
With this arrangement, Gatchalian urged DOTC and the LandTransportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) to find a way in making TNCs accountable to their drivers in case any abuse or accident happens to their passenger since they are not operating under a licensed franchise.
Under the LTFRB-issued taxi franchise, commuters enter into a contract with the operator in riding a taxi. However, in the case of Uber and GrabCar, a commuter enters into a contract with the driver in riding a private vehicle.
Gatchalian pointed out that UberPOP, which is a branch ofUber, was already banned in Germany last March since the said service enables unlicensed cab drivers to render transport services to public commuters.
He added that private owners that offer car-rental services through TNCs do not pay taxes and adhere to the standards imposed on taxi drivers.
“Walang legal binding at accountability itong mga online platform, like Uber and Grab, sa mga private owners that operates like taxi drivers,” Gatchalian explained.
He added: “Kaya pag nagkaroon ng aksidente, pwedeng nilang i-claim na walang silang liability because they are just a platform that connects commuters to drivers.”
The House committee on Transportation, chaired by Nueva Ecija Rep. Estrellita Suansing, is set to finalize the substitute bill after DOTC and LTFRB submitted their respective position paper on including taxi-related services in the proposed bill of rights for taxi passengers.