THE Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) granted the application of Metro Rapid Transit Services Inc. to operate hybrid buses but only for the Talisay-SM Seaside via SRP-Mambaling and N. Bacalso Ave. route and vice versa.
Of the 77 MyBus units that Metro Rapid Transit wants to operate, only three are initially allowed to ply.
This is without prejudice to the submission and corresponding inspection/evaluation by the LTFRB of the remaining units which are part of the 11 units applied for this route only.
In his Nov. 24 decision, LTFRB Central Visayas Director Reynaldo Elnar granted the issuance of a certificate of public convenience for the three units which will be valid for five years.
The application of Metro Rapid Transit was opposed by six transport groups: Cebu Integrated Transport Service Multi-Purpose Cooperative (Citrasco), Visayas United Drivers Transport and Allied Services Cooperative, Metro Cebu Taxi Operators Association, Cebu Provincial Bus Operators Association, Cebu South Mini Bus Operators Association (CSMBOA) and the National Confederation of Transport Union Association.
Elnar said the High Quality Public Transport System (HQPTS) categorized in the application is a first of its kind in Metro Cebu.
None of the oppositors are existing HQPTS providers nor are they existing operators of the same route, considering that what is involved here is a developmental route, Elnar said.
Elnar said the developmental classification was elaborated in the Department of Transportation and Communication (DOTC) memorandum which explained that “the proposed route from Talisay City Hall to Mactan-Cebu International Airport is strategic and identified as a developmental route.”
The reason is that at present, there is no public mode of transport plying the route, making it difficult for people to have direct access to the airport or to areas located along the coastline.
It also stated that the area traversed by the route is currently undergoing major development expansion and will include a variety of commercial hubs and tourist locations.
It also said there is a need for public transport in the proposed area with a projected ridership for 2015 of 118,000 daily passengers.
Elnar said the determination and approval of this developmental route is within DOTC’s jurisdiction.
“This regional office therefore has no legal basis to depart from this classification made by a higher office (DOTC),” Elnar said.
Given such premises, the LTFRB declared that the nature of the opposition does not qualify the application contested.
CSMBOA president Julito Flores and Citrasco chairman Benjamin Ryan Yu said all local transport groups will soon meet to contest what they call the intrusion of Henry Sy Sr. to the transport business with the aid of DOTC.
“We cooperate with SM in the past when its mall at North Reclamation Area had no customers. Now, SM is our competitor,” Flores said.
Earlier, the LTFRB en banc chaired by Chairman Winston Ginez, with Board Member Antonio Enrile Inton approved the fare rates for the hybrid bus, which are P25 from Talisay City to Mambaling, Cebu City; P40 from Talisay City to Parkmall or the North Bus Terminal, Mandaue City; and P75 from Talisay City to the Mactan airport.