Videos of rude taxi drivers shouting and even assaulting passengers have gone viral and enraged the public, even prompting lawmakers to revive a bill defining the “rights of taxi passengers.”

One video showed a taxi driver shouting expletives at a female passenger who had refused to pay additional fare. The driver even ran after the passenger and threatened to hit her.

I myself have encountered taxi drivers who do not want to use the meter or who demand a higher fare. I have likewise met drivers who drop you off even when you are still far from your destination due to heavy traffic.

Other drivers of public utility vehicles (PUV) are just as abusive.

There are reckless jeepney drivers and bus drivers who drop off passengers in the middle of the road.

Article 1755 of the Civil Code of the Philippines states that a “common carrier” such as taxi cabs, buses and jeepneys are “bound to carry the passengers safely as far as human care and foresight can provide, using the utmost diligence of very cautious persons, with a due regard for all the circumstances.”

But safety and security would be the last that one could expect from PUV drivers. They’re not even capable of courtesy.

Bad PUV drivers are a reflection of government incompetence and even corruption.

In fact, the Land Transportation Office (LTO) and Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) are agencies that rate poorly as far as public perception of the quality and transparency of their service is concerned.

The Philippine government seeks to attract more tourists to the country—as shown in the multimillion-dollar advertising campaign, “It’s More Fun in the Philippines”—but abusive taxi drivers and the inhospitable road and traffic management conditions in Metro Manila are turning off both domestic and international tourists.

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Our PUV drivers are rude and abusive.

Obviously the LTO and LTFRB should be doing their job. But the two agencies have a history of incompetence and corruption.

As Ombudsman Conchita Carpio Morales, a former Supreme Court associate justice, has said, “Many in government are corrupt.”

The discourtesy and abusiveness of PUV drivers may not only turn off tourists; they may likewise cast a pall on the international reputation of the Philippine service sector.

According to the National Economic and Development Authority, almost 21 million Filipinos are employed in the service sector; this is 53.6 percent of the total employment.

The country’s service sector also has the biggest contribution to the country’s economic growth at 56.7 percent in 2014. Since the 1980s the service sector has had the lion’s share of contributions for economic growth, exceeding the industry sector.

The negative image of the public transport service sector harms the image of the high-quality service of our overseas workers. If authorities continue to disregard the problem, it may not be too long until we experience a decrease of overseas demand for our service workers.

We pride ourselves for allegedly being warm and hospitable people yet our public transport sector operatives and drivers are inhospitable and abusive, even posing a risk to the life and limb of passengers and tourists.

Surely the disjunction cannot be tolerated anymore. Remove reckless and abusive PUV operatives and drivers from the road.

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