LGUs ready vehicles to transport commuters if PUJ drivers go on strike

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Wednesday, July 16, 2014


AT LEAST 26 Kaohsiung buses and other barangay-owned vehicles will be on standby in key areas in Cebu City to transport stranded commuters in case jeepney drivers won't ply their routes today.

City Traffic Operations Management (Citom) operations division head Joy Tumulak said Citom asked barangay captains and police stations to assist stranded commuters.

The City Governments of Lapu-Lapu and Mandaue will also deploy vehicles if jeepney drivers push through with the plan to go on strike today or on Monday.

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Assistant Provincial Engineer Ludendorf Cania said two dump trucks, a boom truck and four double cab pick-up trucks will transport Capitol employees to and from work. He said Capitol department heads with service vehicles were requested to give rides to colleagues and staff who live near them.

Rides on government vehicles are free.

Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) 7 Director Ahmed Cuizon, on the other hand, issued a memorandum circular allowing public utility buses to ply public utility jeepney (PUJ) routes in the cities of Cebu, Mandaue and Lapu-Lapu if drivers hold a strike today or on July 21.

“If there are no jeepneys on the road, our Kaohsiung buses are ready to ply the routes of the jeepneys. Stranded commuters only need to go to the nearest barangay hall or police station and inform them that they need a ride,” Tumulak said yesterday.

Police stations and barangay halls are equipped with communication systems that allow them to relay the request for transportation to the City’s command center.

Tumulak said commuters may also call 166 or Citom’s hotline (2539211) if they need a ride.

“We’re appealing to the public to also be patient if it will take us a while to pick them up, especially if several routes are affected,” he said.

City Hall is preparing for a possible shortage of jeepneys today after drivers announced that they will attend the public hearing on Joint Administrative Order 2014-01, which imposes higher penalties for violations of traffic rules.

Picket

The drivers reportedly plan to hold a picket outside City Hall, where the public hearing will be held.

Lapu-Lapu City Administrator Teodulo Ybañez said the City has at least 10 vehicles, including two buses, ready to be deployed as early as 6 a.m.

All 19 barangays in the mainland also have vehicles that can be used to transport stranded commuters for free.

“While we are ready to deploy our vehicles, we will approach officials of the transport groups to convince them to stop the strike,” Ybañez told reporters
yesterday.

Government vehicles will bring commuters from Lapu-Lapu to as far as Osmeña Blvd. in Cebu City. The drivers will also pick up commuters bound for Lapu-Lapu on the way back.

Pick-up sites

During the June 19 transport strike, Lapu-Lapu City vehicles gave free rides until 10 p.m., bringing stranded residents to neighboring cities of Mandaue and Cebu and vice versa.

Ybañez said the vehicles will pick up commuters at the City Hall, the public terminal and other areas where passengers gather.

The Mandaue City Government will deploy at least 10 vehicles, including six L300 vans, today and on Monday.

Glenn Antigua, assistant for operations of the Traffic Enforcement Agency of Mandaue (Team), said the vehicles can transport commuters up to Ayala Center Cebu, SM City Cebu and Foodland (on A.S. Fortuna St., Cebu City).

All vehicles were on standby at the parking lot in front of the City Hall yesterday.

More buses

After work and class hours, some vehicles will wait at the City Hall to bring commuters up to SM Consolacion.

Antigua said the Team will coordinate with Citom and the Lapu-Lapu City Traffic Management System.

Public buses with special LTFRB permits, on the other hand, will charge P10 per passenger.

Cuizon said that at least 14 buses have been given permits for Cebu City. Bus stops are found in Bulacao (boundary of Cebu City and Talisay City), F. Llamas Intersection (Shopwise-McDonald’s area), South Bus Terminal, Robinson's Fuente Osmeña, Ayala PUV Terminal, Gaisano Countrymall and Talamban Gymnasium.

The LTFRB 7 authorized Ceres buses to serve PUJ routes in Cebu City. Vallacar Transit, operator of Ceres buses, told Cuizon they will also field 19 buses to other routes.

Cuizon asked other bus operators to participate in the special bus service. “All they have to do is inform us. We do not require them to process any special permit for this,” he added.

Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on July 16, 2014.

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