CEBU Gov. Gwendolyn Garcia has allowed the van-for-hire (v-hire) drivers and operators ejected Friday from their terminal in Barangay Kamagayan, Cebu City to transfer to the Cebu South Bus Terminal (CSBT).

A vacant space at the back of the CSBT will be used as the sub-terminal for v-hires going to Simala in Sibonga town, Toledo City, Naga City, Moalboal and Pinamungajan, among other places in southern Cebu.

The affected drivers and operators met with Garcia at the Capitol on Wednesday, May 3, to ask for her help. And on Thursday, Garcia ordered CSBT manager Carmen Quijano to orient them on the CSBT’s policies and how to use the Beep card system being implemented at the terminal.

The 7,000-square-meter lot owned by the Cebu City Government on Junquera St. in Kamagayan had been temporarily used as a transport terminal for v-hires since late 2016 until the City Government shut it down Friday for lacking accreditation and violating City Ordinance 1958, which prohibits terminals for inter-city vehicles from being located within 300 meters of the central downtown area.

Following the terminal’s closure, the v-hire drivers transferred to SM City Seaside Cebu. But Dondon Omayan, president of GT Express Toledo Operators and Drivers Association, said the area is too far and forces passengers to pay extra for their fare.

Fees at CSBT

Quijano said v-hire drivers must pay P150 every time they arrive at the CSBT. Parking overnight will cost an extra P50.

There are about 240 v-hires operating on the routes that go to southern Cebu, but the CSBT can accommodate only 40 to 50 of them at any one time.

Quijano said the new development will enable the CSBT to earn more revenues, in addition to the P200 fee that it collects from each of the around 500 buses that enter the terminal daily.

However, the vendors at the back of the terminal are worried about their livelihood since their stalls will be pulled out from the area to give way to the v-hires.

They want to talk to the governor to ask her for a place where they can transfer.

“Our only request is to give us a little space anywhere as long as we are still here. We want to remain at the terminal because we have been selling here for quite a long time already,” said Josie Jugador, one of the vendors.

Quijano admitted that they previously relocated the vendors at the back of the terminal.

She added that at least five stall holders have now been issued notices to relocate.

“So there are five stall holders at the back, but now we have issued notices because they don’t have a contract with the governor, so anytime today they can be pulled out,” Quijano said.

Garcia’s decision to transfer the v-hire terminal to the CSBT drew mixed reactions from the bus drivers at the CSBT.

Bus driver Eliseo Martinez, 40, said the presence of v-hires in the CSBT may result in competition between the two modes of transport in picking up passengers bound for the southern part of Cebu.

“We have the same goal in life, which is to earn money,” said Martinez.

Some drivers agreed with Martinez but declined to be interviewed by SunStar Cebu.

But Ceres bus driver Sonny Tumaroy did not see v-hires as competition. But he is worried that the traffic in the area may get worse. CSBT is located along Natalio Bacalso Ave., a major thoroughfare in Cebu City.

The Capitol’s move was welcomed, however, by ambulant vendor Gian Bacus, who sells water and other drinks in the terminal.

Bacus said the transfer of the v-hire terminal would mean an increase in the number of passengers going to the CSBT, leading to an increase in his sales. (ANV, TPT, DEBORAH ARCILLA AND GLYZA ROQUERO, BIPSU INTERNS)