Nation


More than 100 bus firms apply for route changes to serve underutilized locations




Posted on September 17, 2014


MORE THAN one hundred bus companies have asked the government to either shorten or lengthen their provincial routes to ferry more passengers, especially in underserved locations.

Some 104 provincial bus companies -- including Victory Liner, Inc., Five Star Bus Co. and GV Florida Transport, Inc. -- have filed applications to modify their routes, a Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) official said during a pre-plenary budget deliberation at the House of Representatives on Tuesday.

These applications cover trips to and from Manila to Lingayen, Baguio, Dagupan and Tuguegarao, among others, and involve some 3,876 buses, LTFRB Chairman Winston M. Ginez said.

The LTFRB is currently evaluating their applications, Mr. Ginez said.

Bus companies have sought to modify their routes after the LTFRB issued Memorandum Circular 2014-10 in July. The order allowed provincial bus operators to request modifications in their bus routes -- by either shortening or lengthening it -- based on passenger demand.

The order was also issued to curb the operation of out-of-line provincial buses and to make sure that there are enough buses for passengers in underutilized routes.

Under the memorandum circular, the application fee for each bus unit costs P20,000, which when added together, is estimated to rack up to P71 million in fees for the LTFRB.

Of the Philippines’ 24,000 buses that have public utility franchises, half leave for and depart from Metro Manila, Mr. Ginez said during the deliberation chaired by Nueva Ecija second district Congressman Joseph F. Violago.

Inaayos po namin ito and we are willing to brief the committee on transportation once we’ve evaluated these modifications... There are no additional provincial buses that will be allowed to enter Metro Manila. Ang inaayos lang po namin ay ’yung kanilang provincial na mga ruta (We are ironing out the details and we are willing to brief the committee on transportation once we’ve evaluated these modifications. There are no additional provincial buses that will be allowed to enter Metro Manila. We are just making adjustments in their provincial routes),” Mr. Ginez said during the deliberations.

Meanwhile, Marivic H. Del Pilar, spokesperson of the Provincial Bus Operators Association of the Philippines (PBOAP), backed the LTFRB order, saying that they have no qualms about it so far.

Nagko-comply tayo diyan. It’s the process that we have to comply with -- it’s paperwork. Walang problema doon... It’s a regulatory thing (We are complying with the order. It’s the process that we have to comply with -- it’s paperwork. We have no problems with that... It’s a regulatory thing),” Ms. Del Pilar told BusinessWorld in an interview.

Ms. Del Pilar said that their members have no conclusive findings yet how the LTFRB’s route rationalization scheme will affect bus companies’ revenues. -- A. M. Monzon