Wednesday, November 17, 2010

MMDA identifies 2 bus companies that spearheaded Monday's transport strike

MANILA, Nov. 16 (PNA) -- Even as bus operators denied they staged a strike on Monday that inconvenienced thousands of commuters in the metropolis, the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) has identified two bus companies that spearheaded the transport strike to protest the implementation of the , San Juan, Quezon City (UVVRP) or “number-coding” scheme.

MMDA Chairman Francis Tolentino said based on reports from their personnel and field monitoring, Manrose and Jell Transit led the strike in which close to 8,500 commuters were stranded in various parts of Metro Manila and the suspension of afternoon and evening classes in Quezon City and San Juan.

“Based on our monitor, Monrose and Jell Transit led the transport strike,” Tolentino said, adding that the MMDA will forward the names of the operators to the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) for further investigations.

LTFRB Chairman Nelson Laluces said they will issue notices to the bus operators who participated in Monday’s strike prior to the holding of a public hearing to determine whether sanctions ranging from suspension to cancellation of their franchises will be applied.

Laluces said due process will be given to the bus operators. Earlier, the LTFRB said about 100 bus operators out of the 140 joined the strike.

But the Integrated Metro Bus Operators Association (IMBOA), through their president Claire De La Fuente, has denied Monday’s shortage of passenger buses in Metro Manila was a strike, adding that what happened was a miscommunication between operators and drivers who thought there was indeed a strike.

The group announced last Friday they would hold a strike to protest the number-coding scheme.

The MMDA said there is a pressing need for such a program, citing a study by the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) which found out that the current number of buses plying EDSA is beyond its carrying capacity.

The JICA study said EDSA has a carrying capacity of 1, 600 buses on a daily basis. At present, the MMDA said about 3,800 buses are using the thoroughfare daily.

According to the MMDA, about 13,000 provincial and city buses are expected to be covered by the scheme. More than 1,000 of these vehicles will be affected by the UVVRP scheme daily.

PUBs were originally covered by UVVRP but bus operators sought and secured an exemption from Malacañang in 2004.

The number coding for buses will be enforced from 7 am until 7 pm. But unlike in the case of private vehicles and other PUVs, there will be no window hours of 10 am-3pm for PUBs.

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