MANILA, Philippines—If you thought the driver with 99 traffic violations was bad, read this: At Friday’s launch of a Bus Management and Dispatch System at a new bus terminal in Malabon City, the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority found a bus driver with 128 traffic violations. And the man had a string of unpaid fines totaling P29,000.
Organized Bus Route (OBR) program head Mila Silvestre declined to identify the bus driver or disclose the name of his company, supposedly to give them a chance to settle the obligations first, but she said that the violations were only minor ones, such as traffic obstruction or illegal loading and unloading.
The BDMS modernizes the OBR system by placing permanent MMDA offices at existing bus dispatch terminals, and subjecting drivers to fingerprint scanning for verification. The verification draws from a databank on which a total of 5,200 city bus drivers have been registered, as required since last year, Silvestre said.
The databank shows the driver’s bus company and his unsettled traffic violations. Only drivers with less than three pending traffic violations are dispatched. The rest are grounded until they settle their obligations at the MMDA headquarters in Makati and attend a traffic seminar.
On the first day of the BDMS in Malabon, 399 bus drivers were dispatched and 153 bus drivers were grounded. The first day of the BDMS in Fairview saw 186 dispatched, and 285 grounded.
It was in Fairview where the bus driver with a collection of 99 traffic citations was found, but, as in the Malabon case, neither his identity nor that of his company was disclosed.
“The BDMS is for the safety of commuters, to reduce reckless drivers. The drivers now know that we can monitor them. This would also help bus operators monitor their own drivers,” Silvestre said in a telephone interview.
She said MMDA chair Francis Tolentino had also ordered a priority lane for bus drivers at the MMDA ticket payment center, to address the sudden rush of drivers settling their obligations, and to assure cooperative bus operators their units will not be grounded longer than necessary.
It is expected other major OBR dispatch terminals, such as the South Station in Alabang and the Coastal Mall in Parañaque, will also be upgraded by the BDMS. Twelve more smaller dispatch terminals will be established all over Metro Manila later this year, Tolentino said in an earlier statement.