‘Mystery applicants’ tapped to improve LTO service
MANILA, Philippines — If retail and food companies have mystery shoppers and diners who test their quality and service anonymously, then the Land Transportation Office (LTO) has its “mystery applicants.”
According to newly appointed LTO chief Vigor Mendoza II, he has started deploying these “mystery applicants” nationwide to find out the problems encountered when transacting with the agency and any loopholes in procedures.
“These mystery applicants will personally report to my office their observations in all the LTO offices like how fast or slow the transactions were completed, the convenience and inconvenience they experienced,” Mendoza said in a news release on Monday.
The deployment of mystery applicants was in line with the directive of Transportation Secretary Jaime Bautista for the new LTO leadership to take steps to ensure smooth and fast transactions within the agency that had long been the subject of public complaints.
“This measure will give us the real picture of what is happening on the ground, especially on the aspect of delivering services to our kababayan,” Mendoza said.
With the help of the mystery applicants, the LTO chief said they could improve their services and make the application and renewal of driver’s licenses, motor vehicle registration, and other transactions more convenient for the clients.
These mystery applicants, Mendoza said, will be chosen from a pool of volunteers with varied professions and ages.
Prior to Mendoza’s appointment in July, the LTO had been hounded with a raft of problems including the shortage of plastic cards for driver’s licenses and license plates for motorcycles and motor vehicles.
The shortage led to the resignation of then-LTO chief Jose Arturo Tugade, who disagreed with the procurement policies imposed by the Department of Transportation.
Meanwhile, as part of his initiatives to improve the agency’s services, Mendoza also plans to implement warning systems for public utility vehicles (PUVs) to ensure the safety of drivers and commuters during typhoons and other calamities.
In a statement on Monday, Mendoza said the LTO planned to adopt a safety measure similar to the no-sea travel policy due to the damage wrought by Typhoon Egay (international name: Doksuri) on several major roads in its path.
In coordination with the Department of Public Works and Highways and local disaster response offices, the LTO is looking to develop a list of roads that are prone to landslides and flooding during weather disturbances.
“Our objective is to give PUV drivers, especially bus drivers, a heads-up of the road condition in their routes so that appropriate measures should be taken for commuters’ safety,” Mendoza said.
The LTO would deploy enforcers across buses and other transport terminals to advise drivers and commuters of the road conditions during typhoons.
“It is better to be stranded in the terminals than to have our kababayans stranded in the middle of the roads. That’s more dangerous,” Mendoza said.