A number of transport groups in Bacolod City staged a “busina caravan” today, January 17, as they call for the local government and the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) to hold in abeyance the proposal to adopt the new route plan in line with the public utility jeepney modernization program.
The group composed of United Drivers Operators Center, Federation of Bacolod Driver’s Association and Pinagkaisang Samahan ng mga Tsuper at Operators Nationwide opposed the implementation of the modernize jeepney stressing that it will impact the drivers’ income, who are now struggling due to the effects brought by COVID-19.
UNDOC Secretary General claimed that City Ordinance 966, which adopts the Local Public Transportation Route Plan, and provides policies and guidelines for its implementation and other purposes, was passed without consulting their groups. In an interview over dyEZ Aksyon Radyo, Malacad said they only found it out during the turnover ceremony attended by LTFRB regional officials last January 12, which according to him was not even covered by the local press.
Malacad explained that with the implementation of the jeepney modernization, it will be the ordinary drivers that will be severely impacted as the modernization program will only benefit big players and cooperatives who were given rights to manage the jeepney operations in the city. At least four cooperatives and 2 big corporation are eyeing to secure a permit for the new routes per Malacad.
He added that once LPTRP is implemented, operators of tricycles around the city will also be impacted citing that the application for franchise will now be under the control of LTFRB. Currently, operation of tricycles are within the jurisdiction of the local government of Bacolod.
Under the modernization program, over 1,000 modern jeepneys are expected to operate in at least 24 new routes in Bacolod City, making it the second highly urbanized city in the country to adopt the government’s program. The LPTRP was formally handed over by Mayor Evelio Leonardia to LTFRB after a ceremony which according to the previous press statement released by Bacolod City Public Information Office was also attended by the different transport groups in the city.
In an email to Negros News Online, the Public Utility Vehicle Modernization Project Management Office in Western Visayas said no operators were approved yet for the new routes as they are still waiting for the memorandum circular from its central office before it can proceed with the selection process. The list of routes were not also disclosed by LTFRB and instead refer our writer to Bacolod City Planning Office.