Bus operators apologize to guv

COMPLAINT. Gov. Gwendolyn Garcia informs several bus and minibus operators that the Province has filed a complaint against them for violating the “no parking” and “no loading and unloading” policies in front of the south bus terminal during a meeting at the Capitol on Tuesday, Nov. 21, 2023.
COMPLAINT. Gov. Gwendolyn Garcia informs several bus and minibus operators that the Province has filed a complaint against them for violating the “no parking” and “no loading and unloading” policies in front of the south bus terminal during a meeting at the Capitol on Tuesday, Nov. 21, 2023. Sugbo News

GOV. Gwendolyn Garcia asked the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) 7 to revoke the certificate of public convenience (CPC) of 21 bus and minibus operators whose drivers frequently violated the “no loading and unloading” policy in front of the Cebu South Bus Terminal (CSBT) along N. Bacalso Ave. in Cebu City.

Her request was formally forwarded to LTFRB 7 Director Eduardo Montealto Jr. on Tuesday, Nov. 21, 2023, during a meeting at the Capitol with the operators of bus liners that ply southern Cebu.

The threat of losing their CPC or franchise prompted the operators to take immediate action.

In a statement sent to SunStar Cebu on Wednesday, Nov. 22, their representatives issued a consolidated letter of apology addressed to the governor, recognizing the violation as a disrespect towards the policies of the CSBT and the Provincial Government.

“The undersigned representatives extend their most sincere apologies and remorse towards CSBT management and the Province of Cebu for this disrespectful and offensive action,” the statement said.

“The undersigned will not evade the weight of this violation and will take full responsibility for it. The undersigned believe that as operators, they are fully aware (of) and must abide with the policies, including the policies of the CSBT,” it said.

The operators pledged to take an active role in monitoring their drivers and conductors to ensure they strictly adhere to CSBT policies.

They will also proactively impose sanctions on erring employees.

“Finally, the undersigned respectfully pray from the bottom of their hearts, that the CSBT management and the Province of Cebu will accord them a final chance to take corrective measures and let this be a learning experience for them. They further pray from the CSBT management, and most especially from you, Madam Governor, that you will forgive the operators for this instant violation and accord them with a final chance,” it added.

According to an LTFRB memorandum, a CPC is an authorization issued by the agency “for the operation of land transportation services for public use as required by the law.”

Open doors

Montealto, on Wednesday, said the 21 operators’ units were monitored to have violated memorandum circulars that mandate all public utility vehicles to always close their doors to avoid incidents while in motion.

He said additional violations of city ordinances and local traffic enforcement law can also be raised against the operators.

“The public utility vehicle, while the vehicle is in motion, kinahanglan ang ilahang pultahan kay sirado (their doors must be closed). Dili unta sila makapasakay kung sarado (Nobody would be able to enter if the doors are closed),” he said.

He said some operators explained that there were times when passengers would convince drivers to allow them to board the bus outside the terminal.

The operators also told the director that they have frequent seminars to remind drivers and conductors to avoid picking up passengers outside the CSBT.

However, he assured that there will be due process, as LTFRB 7 had ordered the operators during the meeting last Tuesday to answer the Capitol’s allegations in 10 days.

A hearing has also been scheduled on Dec. 7 so operators can give their side.

Montealto said it might take at least two months to resolve the complaint.

According to a report from Sugbo News, the Provincial Government’s media arm, the complaint stemmed from reports that operators have failed to discipline erring bus and minibus drivers even though their attention to the violations, which include illegal parking, has been called several times.

The report, though, did not name the operators.

The governor pointed out that a private school teacher had already died after being struck by a minibus outside the terminal on the night of Oct. 17.

According to a SunStar Cebu report that came out on Oct.18, the victim tried to board a bus in the middle of the road, when he lost his grip on the door handle and fell to the ground. He was killed when the bus ran over him.

“Giunsa man tawn na ninyo og hunahuna (What were you thinking)? Makapuli pa mo atong kinabuhi nga nakalas (Are you able to replace the life of a dead person)?” Garcia said in the report, addressing operators during the meeting.

Montealto, for his part, assured Garcia that the agency would look into her complaint and impose sanctions and penalties on erring operators.

Last June, the governor ordered the operators to discipline drivers and conductors who violated the “no parking” and “no loading and unloading” rules in front of the CSBT as these posed a safety risk to the public.

She also warned operators that the Provincial Government would seek LTFRB’s intervention, including the cancellation of their CPC or franchise, if the violations continued.

During the meeting on Tuesday, Garcia showed CCTV footage of bus units committing the violations that go way back to January.

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