LTFRB postpones crackdown on UV Express
The Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) has agreed to postpone by two weeks the enforcement of a memorandum circular which bans UV Express vehicles from loading or unloading passengers outside their designated terminals.
This means that Memorandum Circular No. 2019-25, which abolishes the 2-kilometer radius policy that allows UV Express vehicles to drop off or pick up commuters within that radius, will take effect in mid-June.
Earlier, the House committee on Metro Manila development heard complaints that the LTFRB haphazardly introduced the policy without holding consultations or taking commuters’ concerns into consideration.
LTFRB board member Ronaldo Corpus, however, stood by the circular, saying it need not undergo consultation because it only enforced what was already in the terms and conditions of a UV express franchise: the vehicles are to operate on a point-to-point (P2P) basis.
Designate stop points
But he said the LTFRB was open to a UV express association’s appeal to consider designating stop points between trips instead of pushing for the terminal-to-terminal route.
Mar Valbuena, chair of the Samahang Manibela, Mananakay at Nagkaisang Terminal ng Transportasyon, said that having stop points would spare commuters from additional fares and extra trips.
“We concur that our franchises state that they are P2P. But the law is often coldhearted; lawmakers are not. If only regulators had dialogues with us, they would understand that their policy is not as simple as they think,” Valbuena said.
For one, not all public utility vehicles have the same routes or are available on all roads, he added.
Commuters run the risk of being dropped off in areas where there are no connecting trips on buses or jeepneys.
He also questioned why no new franchise slots were available for UV express vehicles—still stuck at 13,000— when transport network companies (TNCs) like Grab had been given 65,000 slots.
“With all due respect, these TNCs are [profit-focused]. For us, it’s a service first—a means for our drivers to earn a living and put food in their stomachs,” Valbuena said.
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