We have read and we have recounted our often disappointing and sometimes horrendous experiences with taxis. Taxis have been the perennial brunt of complaints and issues from driver behavior, passenger comfort and safety, all the way to how the vehicles perform.
The emergence of ridesharing companies in the country provided a solution to the woes of the riding public: better cars, well trained drivers, clean vehicles, and friendly and accommodating drivers. This was wholly embraced by nearly all commuters even if the fares can be a tad higher than taxis or other mode of transportations.
The popularity of regular taxi has dwindled in the past 4 years because of the advent of ridesharing transport services, but also because taxi drivers are infamous for uncouth behavior such as refusal of passengers, complaints of distant destinations, and other similar tiresome excuses. The excuses that operators come up with never helped either..
My own experiences with riding taxis are good conversational spiff; my lamentations and grievances make enough material for a short story that would probably even qualify for nonfiction. But that’s another story literally.
A Bill of Rights!
On September 12, 2018, the House of Representatives passed House Bill No. 7774, also known as the “Bill of Rights of Taxi, Tourist Car Transport Service and Vehicle for Hire Passengers,” on its second reading.
Under the bill, a passenger shall have the right to be served by a driver who is properly dressed. Taxi and TCTS operators should ensure that their drivers wear the prescribed uniform and company identification (ID) card at all times while on duty.
The bill also enumerates the following rights of a passenger:
The bill also seeks to penalize taxi drivers who violate the provisions of the proposed law with a PHP1,000 fine and suspension of the driver’s license for seven days for the first offense; PHP3,000 and suspension of license for six months for second offense; and PHP5,000 and suspension of license for one year for third offense.
Micab’s professional cabbie oath
In line with this bill, Eddie Ybanez and his Micab team forged ahead with the idea of a professional oath for their drivers. The Micab oath is taken by all drivers who graduate from their comprehensive program for new drivers, and in it, they pledge to take passengers to their destinations promptly, efficiently, and safely; greet them with warmth and care; and stop at nothing to ensure they have a comfortable ride, including helping load and unload their baggage.
According to Eddie, the drivers who start out on their platform are getting much higher reviews from the outset, while older drivers improved their ratings after taking the oath. It appears, in other words, that it’s easier to perform as customer service professionals when you are guided by the kind of principles you would find in an oath, rather than the hard‑and‑fast dos and don’ts most Filipino businesses try to instill.
The Micab oath is a living document, just like the Hippocratic oath that inspired Eddie. They fully intend to make further improvements and tweaks as time goes by, based on what his team feels will best inspire their drivers. This is a simple message that Eddie would like to share with other founders in the Philippines and Southeast Asia because it’s one most people often forget: it’s not just the technology that should be idealized and practiced. Every day, we should strive to make ourselves and everyone around us better than the day before.