Could service contracting be the key to solving our transportation woes?

What do you think?
by Drei Laurel | Aug 7, 2020
PHOTO: Jerome Ascaño

Our public transportation system left much to be desired even before the COVID-19 pandemic hit. Now? Circumstances outside of our control have magnified its flaws even more.

At least one member of Congress believes that service contracting is the answer to this problem. Representative Ron Salo of the Kabayan party-list has filed An Act Institutionalizing Transportation Service Contracting in hopes of providing commuters with a safe and reliable public transportation system, and driver and operators with a stable livelihood.

Under the scheme, the government will contract out routes that need servicing to operators and drivers, compensating them based on their period of operation and distance traveled. Incentives and penalties will be given based on performance,  and since drivers will not be pressured to meet a boundary, they would theoretically drive in a safer manner.

The bill tasks the Department of Transportation (DOTr) and local government units (LGU) with serving as the scheme’s contracting authorities, while fares will be based on parameters set by the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board—factors like fuel, maintenance, and return of investment will be taken into account.

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“This framework or model has worked well in cities like London and Singapore. Locally, this arrangement had been deployed at the Bonifacio Global City in Taguig City, several years back already,” a statement released on Salo’s official Facebook page reads.

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“With the implementation of the quarantine measures, the DOTr and certain LGUs have already taken advantage of transportation service contracting in serving the mobility needs of healthcare and essential workers which proved to be more efficient as compared to the traditional boundary system.”

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Sound like a simple enough idea, right? Hopefully, something will become of this bill. Do you think a scheme like this could work on a larger scale here in the Philippines, or is this just wishful thinking?

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PHOTO: Jerome Ascaño
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