Up to P1M fine for ‘colorum’ buses, stiffer penalties in store
The problems posed by ‘colorum’ or illegally-operated public utility vehicles include traffic congestion and safety, as evidenced by the many accidents involving commuter buses. The Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) and the Department of Transportation and Communications (DOTC) recently imposed larger fines for these violators, with the intention of finally stamping out the problem.
Under the Joint Administrative Order of the LTFRB and DOTC, which will take effect on June 19, colorum bus operators will be fined P1 million; truck and van operators, P200,000; sedan operators, P120,000; jeepney owners, P50,000; and motorcycle operators, P6,000.
Another of the penalties under the DOTC and LTFRB order also calls for the impounding of the colorum vehicles for a minimum period of three months.
At the same time, the DOTC will also revoke the franchise issued to the operator of the colorum vehicle. The vehicles, on the other hand, will be blacklisted so that they cannot be used again as PUVs.
LTFRB Chair Winston Ginez said the P1-million fine was meant to be a strong deterrent. “The instruction of Secretary Abaya was to make the fines not really affordable,” Ginez said. “We are declaring that it should end already.”
Also covered by the order are other PUV-related violations such as refusal to convey passengers to their destination; overcharging; employing reckless, insolent, discourteous or arrogant drivers; operating PUVs with defective parts; using tampered taximeters; and trip cutting. If all of these provisions were strictly enforced, most PUVs operators would be facing fines.
Meanwhile, the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) expressed its support for the harsher penalties to be imposed on operators of “colorum” public utility vehicles (PUVs) starting next week, saying it was high time the government took a firm stance against PUVs operating without a franchise to ease traffic.
“We are behind the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) and the Department of Transportation and Communications (DOTC) on this one. A bigger penalty would mean fewer colorum vehicles on the road,” MMDA Chair Francis Tolentino said.
He noted that at present, 401 illegal PUVs were housed at the MMDA’s impounding area in Pasig City.
“If this [had been] implemented before, the government would have earned P401 million from fines,” Tolentino said.
Asked about the possibility of law enforcers using the stiffer penalties to extort money from drivers, Tolentino replied: “If we are going to think about bribery and extortion all the time, we won’t be able to implement any law. We need only clear implementing rules to avoid extortion activities.”
Meanwhile, the LTFRB has conducted a routine check of a bus firm’s 35 units as part of an ongoing initiative to ensure that bus operators comply with safety requirements.
In a statement, the LTRFB said it recently inspected Ma-Fel Transit Corp.’s terminal and garage in Quezon City in compliance with Office Order No. 2014-026 regarding the conduct of an inspection on garages and terminals and an inventory of public transport units.
A team that was formed to inspect the garage and authorized units of Ma-Fel Transit Corp. located on Belfast Street corner Mindanao Avenue in Fairview found out that its 35 buses matched the franchise record held by the board.
The inspection team also found out that the bus firm’s garage with its 2,313 square meters of open space was sufficient to accommodate all their 35 authorized units.
However, the team noted that some of the buses had incomplete PUV markings such as their chassis and motor numbers.
As a result, the buses were marked with their corresponding chassis and motor numbers to ensure that these matched those on the franchise record of the LTFRB.
–With a report from Niña P. Calleja, Miguel R. Camus
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