Shortage of PUVs hurts commuters

December 4, 2018 at 1:52 pm Leave a comment

By Mortz C. Ortigoza

DAGUPAN CITY – The shortage of the public utility vehicles (PUVs) that ply within the province or to other provinces became a bane for passengers as the government aggressively implements the Joint Administrative Order (JAO) passed in 2014.

The JAO deterred operators of colorum buses because of the P1 million fine for each of their illegally operating PUVs apprehended by the enforcers of the Land Transportation Office (LTO).

City LTO chief Danny Martinez said the scarcity of these mini buses could not be solved overnight.

“Nasa three years tayo. Ibig sabihin niyan pinagaaralan mabuti, sinu-survey mabuti itong ating mga route plan kailangan masusi ang pag-aaral nito. Saan ang kulang, gawa ng sobra magbawas tayo. Saan ang kulang? Iyan ang ginagawa ng government ngayon,” he explained.

The P1 million fine however resulted in inconveniences to the commuters who used to enjoy the abundance of the PUVs.

Aside from buses, JAO penalizes the following vehicles without a franchise from the government:Truck – P200,000; Jeepney – P50,000; Van – P200,000; Sedan – P120,000, and; Motorcycles – P6,000.

Martinez explained that many, if not most, of the mini buses in the country should have been phased out because of the law that mandate that they should be operating on the street for not more than 15 years.

“Ang problema, marami sa mga minibus nagkaroon ng upgrading ng year model na hao-shiao because of corruption. Iyan ang isang kaso,” he cited.

Before the administration of President Rodrigo Duterte, many bus operators in Pangasinan were exposed by media men to be in cahoots with the proliferation of the kambal-plaka (twin plates) where two or three buses traverse the highway at the expense of franchise taxes and revenues paid at the Land Transportation Franchising Board and the LTO.

Media reports including by this paper in 2013 cited that certain bus company based in Lingayen, Pangasinan bribed LTO officials in the region and the province for P30 thousand a month for the use of these improvised plates.

“Dito sa Pangasinan nakaka half-a-million pesos na in a month ang LTO dahil diyan sa kambal plaka,” a source who asked for anonymity told this paper.

 LTO Ilocos Regional Director Teofilo Guadiz III said he did not know about the protection money that changed hands between rogue LTO personnel at the Region-1 office in La Union and the province and the conspiring franchisee when asked about the alleged collusion.

Martinez disclosed that even reconditioned imported buses like the one bought cheaply at Subic in Zambales are prohibited by law.

“Wala na. Kasi ang totoo sa mga iyon re-used ang mga iyan. Bulok ang mga iyan e, tayong mga Filipino ni reconditioned lang natin now. Hindi papayag ang LTFRB,” he said.

He disclosed the gruesome incident where several passengers died after another reconditioned buses bought by the owner at the junkyard figured in a mishap in the southern part of the country.

“So asan ngayon ang proteksiyon ng taong bayan? Walang Passenger Liability Insurance. Wala iyon, zero! Isa pa, kung magkaroon ng disgrasya, kolorum ang sasakyan, pag marunong iyong kabangga mo, talo ang kolorum. Why? Wala siyang karapatan na nasa kalsada” he emphatically said.

When asked if there are more operators who are applying for franchise to add on the shortage of PUVs,  Martinez said that many mull to procure.

Aside from the regulation of the buses, the government has its Jeepney Modernization Program. It is an initiative of the government to put in new and safer jeepneys on the street and phase out the old and poorly maintained ones.

 Initially introduced by  the LTFRB in 2015, it seeks to minimize outdated jeepneys in the streets, boost passenger safety, and prevent pollution by imposing an age limit for transport vehicles that are allowed to operate.

According to the resolution by the LTFRB, public vehicle operators will not be approved for a franchise, extend their Certificate of Public Convenience (CPC), increase of number of vehicles, or substitute their vehicles if their unit is more than the minimum age requirement. The unit should not be more than fifteen (15) years old reckoned from the date of manufacture of subject vehicle.

Entry filed under: News.

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