700 Ceres bus drivers attend refresher course

ABOUT 700 drivers of Vallacar Transit Inc., operator of the fleet of Ceres buses in the province and in other parts of the country, are attending a series of seminars with the Land Transportation Franchise and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) and Land Transportation Office LTO).

The first seminar, held Wednesday at the Vallacar Transit compound in Barangay Mansilingan, Bacolod City, was spearheaded by LTFRB-Western Visayas Director Romulo Bernardes and LTO Acting Bacolod Head Renato Novero.

The seminars will be conducted daily until September this year.

The LTFRB-Western Visayas had earlier issued a suspension order against Ceres 11 buses, including the two that figured in a fatal accident in E.B. Magalona, Negros Occidental last July 22. Four died, including a bus conductor, and 47 others were injured.

During the seminar, Bernardes and Novero discussed the terms and conditions of the franchise for public utility buses, and traffic rules and regulations.

Bernardes said that public safety is the paramount concern of everyone thus he reminded the concerned drivers to always think of the welfare of the commuting public and also his own when on the road.

He also told the drivers that if they have personal problems, they should not bring them when they are driving as these are also one of the factors why accidents happen.

"We call this endeavor public-private partnership for road safety. The seminar dwelled on the safety of the passengers and pedestrians alike because we believe that we need to inculcate values and inform them that they are not robots. They too have their family and loved ones left in their homes and they should uphold the safety of everyone, including themselves," Bernardes added.

Vallacar Transit has already complied with the requirements set by LTFRB which can be a ground to lift the suspension order.

Bernardes said the conduct of seminars is a major compliance with the requirements set by LTFRB.

"I just hope that LTO has already conducted the motor vehicle inspection. As soon as all the requirements are complied with, we can lift the suspension order maybe today or the following day," he said.

Bernardes said the accidents that happened recently were not due to mechanical problems as Vallacar observes mandatory maintenance.

“So it is more of the drivers’ fault,” he said.

Novero said he discussed with the Ceres bus drivers various topics, including traffic rules, defensive driving, penalties, fines, among others.

"We have inspected the 11 units. We conduct a seminar upon request of transportation companies. Vallacar has a whole-year round of seminars with the assistance of the LTO," he said.

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