LGUs have say on trikes as school buses, says group vs LTFRB ban
A transport organization in Quezon City is protesting the crackdown launched by the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) on tricycles being used as school buses.
Rolando Bantegui, president of 3-Gulong Philippines Inc., said the sweeping ban should have been discussed first between local government units (LGUs) and tricycle groups under their jurisdiction.
“It’s the city government that grants a franchise to tricycle drivers. So it came as a surprise that the crackdown has already commenced when the LGUs have yet to clarify this with us,” Bantegui told the Inquirer.
He was referring to Tuesday’s operations led by the Interagency Council on Traffic (i-ACT) against tricycles plying Katipunan Avenue in Quezon City, some of them used as school service vehicles by students at Ateneo de Manila University and Miriam College.
During the crackdown, several drivers were also cited for traffic violations and for passing through Katipunan Avenue, a national highway, in violation of Memorandum Circular 2007-1 of the Department of the Interior and Local Government.
The LTFRB has pushed for a ban on the use of tricycles as school shuttles, saying these are unsafe and do not have passenger insurance.
Most affected during Tuesday’s apprehensions were members of Masa Tricycle Operators and Drivers’ Association, which was under 3-Gulong.
Several students and drivers were also inconvenienced, a situation which “could have been avoided had there been proper talks between the parties,” Bantegui said.
“Before each driver is issued a franchise, they undergo a rigorous process first with the city government’s tricycle regulatory board. So such operations just unduly affect our drivers who are above board anyway,” he said.
Not part of franchise
Bantegui said their group would submit a position paper to Quezon City Vice Mayor Joy Belmonte to clarify the issue.
At present, every LGU has its own policies on the use of tricycles as school service vehicles. Only LGUs can issue a franchise to tricycle operators and drivers.
In an earlier interview, LTFRB Board Member Aileen Lizada said the use of tricycles as school services was usually not part of their franchise.
“If a tricycle operates as a school service when it is clearly outside the franchise granted to him, that is already considered ‘colorum’ by LTFRB standards,” she added.
But Bantegui pointed out that the franchise granted to them by the Quezon City government allowed them to operate as a service vehicle. “It’s precisely why this needs to be clarified at the LGU level so that drivers and passengers alike are not inconvenienced,” he stressed.
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