Makati, LTFRB at odds over free shuttle service

Posted at 04/22/14 3:05 PM

MANILA – The Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) once again asked the Makati City government to file an application for a special permit for its free shuttle service.

Four coasters and two buses of the Makati City government have been ferrying around 500 passengers from the MRT's North Avenue Station to the Philippine Stock Exchange building in Ayala Avenue with no stop-overs since March 27.

This was done to help reduce the number of passengers boarding the MRT following a series of problems with the transit system.

The LTFRB earlier sent a letter on Wednesday to the office of Makati City Mayor Jejomar ‘Jun-Jun’ Binay Jr., asking him to submit all documentary requirements for the permit.

The LTFRB said the Makati government has yet to comply with the board's directive.

“The directive of the Board for the City of Makati to file an application/petition for a special permit is but an exercise of our regulatory authority. We enjoined the City of Makati to abide with our existing laws on public land transportation similar to the strict implementation of rules and ordinances in their jurisdiction,” said LTFRB chairman Winston Ginez.

The LTFRB said the Makati government claimed that it has the power to provide adequate transportation services pursuant to Local Government Code and should not be required to obtain Certificates of Public Convenience (CPC).

Binay said Makati is using government vehicles and not operating a franchise. He added the city government is rendering its services for free, and the passengers, including the driver, are covered by Government Service Insurance System (GSIS) insurance.

He said such concerns should be coursed through the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG), which has jurisdiction over local government units.

The LTFRB refuted this claim and clarified that it did not require the city government to secure a CPC. The board, citing Section 13 of the Public Service Law, said it has jurisdiction over public land transportation services ''even if operated by government entities."

Despite the differences in opinion, Ginez said the LTFRB supports Makati's program and assured that the LTFRB will act swiftly if in case the city government moves to submit the required documents for the application for a special permit.

''We share the City of Makati’s aim of helping pubic commuters efficiently and conveniently reach their destinations but the public transport mode should be within the bounds of the Public Service Law,'' Ginez said.