Santiago goes after jeepney drivers, riders

It’s time to get tough on the so-called kings of the road and their passengers.

Citing the public’s frustration over the lack of discipline among public utility jeepney drivers and riders, Sen. Miriam Defensor-Santiago has proposed that they be fined if they fail to use properly designated stops and terminals.

Santiago, in a recently filed bill, also wants jeepney drivers and operators to undergo a yearly seminar on traffic rules and regulations, road etiquette and driving safety, on top of the creation of new terminals and stops to remind them of what they should and should not do on the road.

Drivers who fail to undergo the seminar to be conducted by the Department of Transportation and Communications and local government units will not have their licenses renewed. Operators who do not attend will have to pay a fine, the bill further states.

According to Santiago, the country’s worsening traffic situation demands further action, and one way to instill road discipline is for the government to designate proper jeepney stops and terminals, and to impose penalties when these are not observed.

The jeepney stops should not be less than 100 meters from each other and should take into consideration areas where most people board and alight. Jeepney stops may also be established in front of schools, hospitals, churches, and city or municipal halls, regardless of whether such stops comply with the 100-meter requirement.

Under Santiago’s bill, jeepney drivers who load or unload passengers at nondesignated stops would be made to pay a P500 fine for the first offense and P1,500 for the second.

For the third offense, both the driver and the jeepney operator would have to pay a P3,000 fine. Fourth-time offenders get their licenses suspended for six months and the jeepney operators fined P5,000.

Fifth-time offenders would have their licenses revoked, while the franchise of the jeepney operator would be suspended for one year.

On the other hand, passengers who alight at a nondesignated jeepney stop would be made to attend a seminar on traffic rules and regulations at the first offense.

During the second offense, the commuter’s penalty would be a P1,000 fine, and for the third offense, a P2,000 fine.

The proposed fines should be paid to and collected by the local government unit. Of the amount collected, 25 percent would go to the local government, another 25 percent to traffic enforcers, and 50 percent to the national treasury.

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