Commuters' group backs LTFRB bus policy

Posted at 08/07/14 4:00 PM

MANILA – A commuters' group is supporting the policy of the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) suspending the operations of out-of-line buses.

Elvira Medina, president of the National Center for Commuter Safety and Protection, said the LTFRB policy on the rationalization of routes of provincial buses is reasonable because it will help bus firms reach areas with high passenger demand.

LTFRB's Memorandum Circular Numbers 2014-009 suspended operations against colorum buses and out-of-line operations.

''Hayaan na muna na natin, pagbigyan natin, lead time lang naman iyan. Wala pang isang buwan, kulang iyan para pagbigyan natin. Pagkatapos po, tsaka natin tignan ang effectiveness,'' Medina told dzMM.

In an earlier interview, LTFRB chairman Winston Ginez said the memorandum gives bus firms the chance to legitimately allocate their bus units to routes where passenger demand is high.

Ginez noted that some bus firms were forced to deploy buses to certain routes with heavy passenger demand even if the units are not allowed due to franchise restrictions.

He said the memorandum circular guarantees drivers and operators of out-of-line and colorum buses that they will not be apprehended and be slapped with a hefty fine of P1 million under the Joint Administrative Order 2014-1 of the Department of Transportation and Communications (DOTC).

Ginez said not giving the bus firms the chance to rationalize their routes may result in massive transport strikes in the future, as bus firms face the risk of being fined.

He also clarified that the LTFRB is not issuing new franchises for Metro Manila. He said the memorandum only involves the modification of the buses' routes.

The LTFRB policy did not sit well with the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) and Metro Manila mayors. The MMDA said the LTFRB policy is illegal and has actually worsened the already bad traffic situation in the metropolis.

Medina, meanwhile, believes the MMDA and its chairman, Francis Tolentino, are just using the LTFRB as a smoke screen for its own failures.