The implementation of this new window-hour operating scheme for provincial buses has been off to a messy start. Last week, massive crowds and stranded commuters at bus terminals became a common sight.
Surely, there must be something wrong with the system. But who’s to blame here? Well, according to the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB), the bus operators are the ones at fault.
In a recent statement, the agency reported that thousands of commuters were stuck at bus terminals in Pampanga last week because of provincial-bus companies’ refusal to operate outside of the 10pm–5am operating hours. The LTFRB called it a clear ‘sabotage.’
It reiterated that under LTFRB Memorandum Circular No. 2020-051, provincial buses are also still allowed to operate from 5am to 10pm, provided they terminated their trips at the designated integrated terminals right outside Metro Manila.
The LTFRB’s statement reads: “Malinaw na walang nagbawal sa kanila na itigil ang paghahatid ng mga pasahero mula Pampanga sa araw, kung kaya’t nakikita na ang kanilang pangunahing layunin ay isabotahe ang daloy ng pampublikong transportasyon at gamitin ang libu-libong mga commuter bilang hostage sa kanilang kahilingan para sa government regulators na aprubahan ang kanilang paggamit ng kanilang mga pribadong terminal anumang oras na gusto nila.
“Bagamat may mandato ang mga naturang operator na bumiyahe, hindi nila ito sinunod kung kaya’t libo-libong pasahero ang na-stranded sa Pampanga, at ibinaling ang sisi sa LTFRB at MMDA. Sumakay rin ang mga pasahero sa panlilinlang ng mga operator at ibinuhos ang kanilang inis sa dalawang ahensya ng gobyerno, na sa katunayan ay kasalanan ng mga provincial commuter bus operators na tumangging mag-operate kahit walang probisyon na nagbabawal sa kanilang pumasada.”
The LTFRB has already issued a show cause order against six bus companies that supposedly refused to operate outside of the window hours last week. Look:
More as we have it. The sooner this situation is sorted out, the better.
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