LTFRB told to withdraw tourist transport franchises

BONTOC, Mountain Province -- The Cordillera Regional Development Council (RDC-CAR) urged the Land Transportation Franchising Regulatory board (LTFRB) to recall the numerous franchises it issued to tourist transport services.

The RDC said the issued franchises are in direct competition with already existing franchises of public utility vehicles in the provinces and cities in the different parts of the region.

Baguio City Mayor Mauricio Domogan, who chaired the second quarter RDC-CAR meeting, said it is unfortunate the tourist transport vehicles converge in the city as their staging area for their desired destinations.

But in the absence of their designated parking areas, it has only contributed in the constriction of traffic in the city, Domogan said.

Legitimate public utility vehicles alleged the tourist transport vans are actually operating as garage vans that are in direct competition with public utility bus' operating in the different parts of the region.

Domogan also criticized the absence of the regional director or duly authorized representative of the Department of Transportation and Railways (DOTr) which is the agency responsible on the issue.

The mayor said agency officials must make sure that their directors or authorized representatives will be present during regular and special full council meetings so that issues that suddenly crop up could be given immediate action.

The RDC chair revealed while it is true that the tourist transport vans were issued franchises to travel in any point of Luzon, the vehicles make Baguio city as their staging area that contribute in the worsening traffic congestions because the said vans do not actually have legitimate parking slots.

The local chief executive noted the significant increase in the number of tourist transport vans using the city as their staging areas.

These tourist transport vans were allegedly issued franchises without the nod of concerned local officials so that issues arising from their operations could be given immediate attention before their operation.

A number of legitimate bus operators in the region have time and again questioned the DOTr-CAR and the LTFRB for their failure to address the proliferation of illegal garage vans operating in the different provinces.

The unabated issuance of certificates of public convenience or franchises to garage vans directly compete with bus operations which eventually led to the closure of several bus companies plying various routes around the region.

Legitimate bus operators have condemned the inaction of the DOTr-CAR and LTFRB in resolving the proliferation of colorum vehicles that instead of reducing its numbers, the number of colorum vehicles have only tripled over the past years.

And bus operators believe that this has contributed to the already problematic traffic situation in urban areas region-wide. (PR)
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