THE Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) granted a provisional authority (PA) that will allow 40 new public utility vehicles (PUVs) to ply the streets of Cebu City even though the Cebu City Transportation Office (CCTO) has yet to prepare a travel line for them.
“As far as we are concerned, as long as there is a provisional authority, the new PUVs can start operating,” LTFRB 7 Chairman Martin Delgra said in Cebuano.
The PA is good for 90 days.
Delgra said the operators can use this period to secure a certificate of public convenience from the LTFRB.
On Monday, Nov. 26, only 12 of the 40 new PUVs arrived in Cebu, said Cebu Integrated Transport Multipurpose Cooperative (Citrasco) chairman Jericho Mari Jumapao.
For his part, Vigor Mendoza, chairman of Persano Corp., which owns the new PUVs, said they will secure a travel line from the Cebu City Government.
Mendoza said Citrasco, which will manage the new PUVs’ operations, is coordinating with the Cebu City Government.
Mendoza also clarified they won’t start operations until the new PUVs’ drivers finish their training, which include proper handling of passengers.
He said they will hold a dry run on Thursday, Nov. 29, or Friday, Nov. 30.
For now, the new PUVs will charge P8 as minimum fare and will accept cash. Soon, passengers will have to use a card to pay their fare.
The new PUVs, which are worth P2.6 million each, were manufactured in China and Russia.
The white Russian-made PUVs can accommodate 30 passengers, while the blue Chinese-made PUVs can accommodate 34 passengers.
“This is the first of its kind in the entire Philippines. Dito po magsisimula sa Cebu (It will start here in Cebu). We’ve got the best of Europe and the best of China and we brought it down here in Cebu,” Mendoza told reporters.
The new PUVs will have two routes.
The first one will start at the Cebu City Hall to Robinsons Galleria to the Cebu Business Park and to Asiatown IT Park and vice versa.
The second route will start from Paseo Arcenas in Banawa to Happy Valley, B. Rodriguez St., Fuente Osmeña, Ramos St., D. Jakosalem St., Gorordo Ave., Ayala Center Cebu, Sitio Panagdait in Barangay Mabolo to Sykes Philippines on F. Cabahug St. and vice versa.
Mendoza said they still have to identify the designated stops.
Meanwhile, Francisco Ouano, CCTO operations chief, said he would rather the operator of the new PUVs secure an approved travel line before starting operations even though this is not required by law.
Although it is the LTFRB 7 that determines the route description, it is the CCTO that will identify the travel line, which will include drop-off and pick-up points, among others, he said.
“Since it is the CCTO that is managing the traffic situation in the city, we would appreciate it if the LTFRB and the operator of the modern PUVs will coordinate with us first,” Ouano said.
But before a travel line is issued, Ouano said, they will need to conduct an ocular inspection and a feasibility study on how many passengers the new PUVs can accommodate and the roads that will be covered by the route, among others.
As of noon Monday, Nov. 26, Ouano said his office had yet to receive a copy of the proposed route description for the PUVs.
“These modern PUVs are quite big since they are coaster-type. We have to check first and find a way how it can effectively operate in the city without worsening the current traffic situation,” he said.
Since the city’s roads are narrow, Ouano said they are thinking of asking the LTFRB 7 to limit the number of buses operating in major thoroughfares to avoid aggravating the traffic situation.
In a related development, City Call Center Program head Nanette Garong said the operation of PUVs in routes where Business Process Outsourcing (BPO) companies are located will not affect the City’s free bus ride program.
“They are actually coordinating with us and we appreciate that because we have a lot of late night commuters, aside from call center agents,” she said.
Garong said they are just pilot-testing these routes until interested private firms will take over the operation.
The City Council authorized Mayor Tomas Osmeña last Nov. 20 to enter into and sign the memorandum of agreement with the Metro Rapid Transit Service Inc. (MRTSI) for the provision of free shuttle services for BPO workers from 9 p.m. to 5 a.m.
The MRTSI, the operator of MyBus, will provide an initial three units that will travel from the Asiatown IT Park to a chicken restaurant on Juan Luna Ave. corner M.J. Cuenco Ave. in Barangay Mabolo. (from SCG of SuperBalita Cebu, RTF)