LTFRB-5 execs meet PUV, van operators on routes, franchise
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At the request of Congressman Cesar Sarmiento, officials of the Land Transportation and Franchising Regulatory Board (LTFRB) in Bicol met with operators of public utility vehicles, particularly those operating colorum vans, to discuss routes and the grant of provisional authority.

LTFRB Regional Director Vladimir Kahulugan, assisted by staffers Andres Tabunda and Robert John Pacurib, discussed with officers of transport cooperatives in Catanduanes several concerns and issues regarding van operations, open routes, and issuance of provisional authority and franchise.

The Sept. 28, 2018 meeting at Marem Pension House came at the behest of Cong. Sarmiento after he handed to the director himself the day before a copy of LTFRB Board Resolution No. 072.

The resolution lifted the moratorium on the acceptance of applications for the issuance of new Certificates of Public Convenience (CPCs) to operate UV Express Service on the island in six routes to and from northern towns.

The opened routes as well as the number of UV Express units allowed per route is as follows: Pandan-Virac (90 kilometers), 25 units; Bagamanoc-Virac (64 km), 15 units; Gigmoto-Virac (58.1 km), 15 units; Panganiban-Virac (62.9 km), 12 units; Viga-Virac (61 km), 20 units; and, Caramoran-Virac (53.7 km), 25 units.

According to the LTFRB, a more dynamic economy in the province triggered by the influx of tourists and the increasing movement of people to and from the 10 other towns to Virac has resulted in a lack of PUVs to cater to the needs of the commuting public. As a consequence, colorum utility vans proliferated in the routes to the northern towns.

Following coordination by local officials with LTFRB for the lifting of the moratorium, opening of new routes and issuance of new CPCs, the LTFRB regional office conducted an evaluation of the proposed routes to determine the viability, required number of units and compliance with other requirements.

The resolution provides that the UV Express Service shall strictly operate on a point-to-point basis, with designated terminals at both end points. It also exempts the routes to Pandan, Bagamanoc, Panganiban and Viga from coverage of the Maximum Distance Policy due to the absence or lack of alternative transport services.

The routes, however, shall be subject to the results of the Local Public Transport Route Plan (LPTRP) to be crafted by the provincial government as well as the approved DOTr route rationalization plan.

There will be only one operator and one franchise for each route, with CPC applicants to consolidate under a cooperative or corporation. Only current units not older than three (3) years for the UV Express routes shall be allowed under the Provisional Authority, pending the issuance of the CPC and the delivery of new units, the LTFRB stated.


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