LTFRB suspends entire Nova bus fleet

Posted at 10/17/2012 1:57 PM | Updated as of 10/18/2012 10:44 AM

MANILA, Philippines (UPDATE) - The Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) on Wednesday announced the suspension of all of the units of Nova Auto Transport after two of its buses figured in accidents.

The 30-day preventive suspension will be enforced while investigations into the two accidents along East Avenue on Tuesday and Belfast Avenue on Wednesday are ongoing.

The investigations will determine if franchises of all 76 bus units should be cancelled.

The LTFRB ordered the bus company to surrender the yellow plates of the buses within 5 days. The suspension will take effect once the LTFRB receives the yellow plates.

The board also gave the bus company 72 hours to submit a written explanation as to why its franchise should not be suspended.

All drivers and conductors will be subjected to drug tests and seminars. All buses will have to undergo road worthiness checks.

Nova Auto Transport topped the list of bus companies with the most number of involvement in accidents last year.

The LTFRB said Nova Auto Transport was involved in 16 accidents from January 2010 to September 2011. Three people died in these accidents.

In the latest incidents, a Nova bus driven by Danilo Ongonion Jr. hit a CEM Transport bus in front of it along East Avenue. Ongonion and 27 passengers from the two buses were injured in the crash.

Another Nova bus also figured in a freak accident past midnight Wednesday, killing a motorcycle rider and leaving another one in critical condition.

The unidentified fatality was riding the motorcycle with another man along Belfast Avenue when they allegedly got hit by the Nova bus, driven by Frank Verano.

The motorcycle slid under the bus after the collision.

Verano claimed that the motorcycle was using the wrong side of the road when the accident occurred.

The bus driver had already left the site of the accident when authorities arrived. He eventually surrendered. – reports from Dennis Datu, dzMM; and Gretchen Malalad, ABS-CBN News