LTFRB exec questions Rama’s plan to open jeepney routes at SRP

LTFRB 7
LTFRB 7(Photo by Thea Jane Sabucido)

AN OFFICIAL of the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board in Central Visayas (LTFRB 7) has expressed reservations about the plan of Cebu City Mayor Michael Rama to put up temporary jeepney routes at the South Road Properties (SRP).

Reynaldo Elnar, chief transportation development officer of the LTFRB 7, said a local government unit cannot just open a new jeepney route there without the approval of the LTFRB central office in Manila.

“We can’t act on those new routes without an order from Manila,” Elnar told SunStar Cebu on Wednesday, May 8, 2024.

Last Monday, May 6, Rama ordered the setup of new jeepney routes to temporarily operate at the SRP to meet the demand for public transportation during the upcoming Palarong Pambansa in July.

The mayor first presented this initiative during an episode on the Sugbuanon Channel, a City Hall-produced online portal, last May 3, where he directed the Cebu City Transportation Office (CCTO) to work with the LTFRB and the Land Transportation Office Central Visayas to execute his instructions.

Rama said agencies should prioritize this issue with the city’s approaching hosting of the Palarong Pambansa, which is scheduled for July 11 to 15.

Rama advocated for increased accessibility for Palarong Pambansa participants by dispatching jeepneys to the SRP.

He added that the closing ceremony of the Palarong Pambansa on July 15 to be held at the SRP “would be so huge.”

“Hence, they have to be more... ready,” Rama said.

But Elnar also questioned the availability of vehicles that will be allowed to ply the SRP in order to accommodate his order.

Before a public utility vehicle (PUV) can ply a certain route, Elnar said it should obtain a franchise. He added that private vehicles are not allowed to ferry passengers.

Elnar said Rama could redirect some existing routes to the SRP, but only those under Cebu City.

Operator’s side

Ellen Maghanoy, president of the 13-member Federation of Cebu Transport Cooperatives, told SunStar Cebu on Tuesday, May 7, that they are willing to dispatch modern jeepney units to the SRP; however, she expressed some apprehensions.

She said plying the SRP, often recognized more as an expressway than a highway, wouldn’t be a wise choice due to low passenger demand for most of the day.

Maghanoy said serving the SRP area wouldn’t yield the same level of productivity as traveling the Pardo-Colon route. Several commercial establishments are located on Colon St., which traverses a portion of the downtown area.

Instead of introducing a new jeepney route, Maghanoy proposed extending existing routes to adjacent areas like the SRP, enabling access to establishments such as SM Seaside City Cebu.

However, Maghanoy acknowledged that this adjustment might inconvenience passengers, particularly students and workers who might need to board the jeepney earlier than usual to avoid tardiness, as the modern jeepneys would have to cover extra kilometers to accommodate the SRP route.

She also recommended that if the mayor intended to establish a new route exclusively for the SRP, it would be preferable for it to be point-to-point, such as from SM Seaside City Cebu to Starmall in Talisay City and vice versa.

This, she added, would ensure that modern jeepneys have passengers before traveling. / KJF

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