By Denise A. Valdez
THE LAND Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) will start accepting applications for appropriation of certificates of public convenience (CPCs) to address the “shortage of buses,” board member Aileen Lourdes A. Lizada said.
Per LTFRB Memorandum Circular (MC) No. 2018-011, the filing and acceptance of applications for appropriation has been opened for holders of CPCs of public utility buses.
Ms. Lizada told reporters that the agency, from the central office to the regional offices, will be doing a nationwide inventory of all buses for the first time in an effort to help commuters.
“The regions will do an inventory, cut off 2012. Ilan ang hindi nagpaconfirm or ilan ang expired [How many did not confirm and how many are expired]. Personally, I’m looking at… aabot siguro tayo ng mga thousands nito na mga buses [I think this might reach thousands of buses]. And from there we will do publication,” she said.
After publication of the list, the CPC holders may submit which routes they wish to serve, ensuring first that they are compliant to the requirements in the Omnibus Franchising Guidelines of the LTFRB. For buses, this means they are required to have a dashboard camera, a free WiFi connection and CCTV cameras, among others.
However, the MC noted that those with unconfirmed and expired CPCs may not participate in the bidding.
For franchises operating in interregional routes, the CPC holders have to coordinate with the central office of the LTFRB. For those in intraregional routes, they may head straight to the regional office, led by the regional director service as chairman of the committee. Ms. Lizada said the bidding applications will take the format of the P2P bus service.
“As a policy, CPCs and its corresponding routes opened for appropriation shall be bundled in packages and the Board shall adopt the selection process utilized in the selection and award of routes/packages for the Premium Point-to-Point Express Bus Service project,” the MC said.
Bidding to operate as P2P buses go through a process where interested operators apply for a package corresponding to a specific route. They will submit a proposal to the LTFRB committee, which will be evaluated on a pass or fail basis.
Ms. Lizada said the last time the government has issued franchises to buses, except for the Point-to-Point (P2P) ones, was in 2003. She said the problem is some of these units may have already stopped fielding buses, hence the shortage.
“The question is, yung mga units na binigay ng gobyerno noong 2003 [the units that were given franchises in 2003], are they still operating or are they still on the ground? Ang iba kasi niyan baka total wreck, ang iba nag-give up na yung operator, baka yung iba hindi na nagpaconfirm or expired na yung prangkisa [Some of those may have already been wrecked, others have given up, or some have unconfirmed and expired franchises]. These are things that have affected the situation of buses. That’s why we are seeing shortage, bakit mahaba ang pila, bakit puro tayo special permit on certain occasions [why there are long lines, why we keep issuing only special permits on certain occasions],” she said.