DRIVERS, conductors, and other personnel who will be affected by the suspension of operation of the Bagong Jeep (Beep) Cebu will be absorbed by other cooperatives, as long as they qualify and meet the groups’ standards.
This was the assurance the Federation of Cebu Transport Cooperatives (FCTC) gave to Cebu City Councilor James Anthony Cuenco, chairman of the committee on transportation, during their meeting.
“Daghan daw mga units nila nga naka-standby maong dili problema nga mo-fill in sila (They have many units on standby that can cover the routes vacated by Beep so it won’t be a problem),” Cuenco said on Wednesday, Sept. 27, 2023.
Cuenco said he also asked the FCTC if the units that would assume the vacated routes could start operating immediately, given that these would need a special permit from the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB). The FCTC assured him that a special permit could be granted.
Moreover, the Cebu City Traffic Management Coordination (TMC) Board, in a proposed resolution, urged the LTFRB 7 to assist in the processing of permits for these transport coops.
“No vacuum of operations will be experienced by the riding public because they (FCTC) are ready to deploy. Vacated routes by Beep will be assumed by the federation of coops,” the TMC said in an official statement.
In the proposed resolution, the TMC described the suspension of Beep’s operation as a “disastrous” move since it is expected to affect an estimated 70,000 passengers, most of whom work in 36 business processing outsourcing companies located along Beep’s routes that include from Cebu City Hall to Cebu IT Park in Barangay Lahug, Cebu City; Banawa to Panagdait in Mabolo, Cebu City; Tabunok, Talisay City to Cebu IT Park; and Minglanilla to Cebu IT Park.
In a text message to SunStar Cebu on Tuesday, Sept. 26, LTFRB 7 Director Eduardo Montealto Jr. confirmed that Beep Cebu already submitted an official copy of the motion declaring its intention to cease operations for six months.
He said he was waiting for the recommendation of their legal team, led by lawyer Edwin Antepuesto, for their next course of action.
Montealto initially became aware of Beep’s intention to temporarily suspend its operations when a memorandum originally intended for internal communication was posted online by a local radio station on Monday, Sept. 25.
Beep had cited the ongoing Russia-Ukraine conflict as one of the factors it was ceasing operations, saying the war has obstructed the company’s ability to secure spare parts for its 20 gazelle units manufactured in Russia that impacted their maintenance and overall reliability.
It said its ability to generate revenue and profit has also been affected by the stiff competition within the transportation sector, and the worsening traffic situation caused by the ongoing implementation of the Cebu Bus Rapid Transit.
Ellen Maghanoy, FCTC president, said on Tuesday that the cooperatives and corporations under the FCTC have around 100 modern public utility vehicles (MPUVs) on standby that can be deployed to take over the routes that will be vacated by Beep, which is not a member of the federation.
According to Montealto, the reason there are MPUVs on standby is because traditional jeepneys are still allowed to ply their routes until Dec. 31.
The LTFRB announced last March that it would extend the deadline for traditional jeepney franchise holders to consolidate or join existing cooperatives from June to Dec. 31.
Franchises of traditional jeepneys were initially set to expire by the end of March. In Metro Manila, it was the end of April.
The LTFRB said that operators who fail to meet the consolidation requirement would have their franchises or certificates of public convenience revoked, in line with the government’s PUV Modernization Program. (AML, KJF)