Cebu ‘beeps’ to temporarily stop operations
CEBU CITY – A firm that provides close to 60 modern “beeps” or bus-jeepneys is suspending its operations for six months starting October 1 due to losses in their operations.
In a Sept. 22 memorandum addressed to its drivers and passenger assistance officers, Beep Cebu said they were left with no other choice due to “severe problems” that need to be addressed.
“In order to stave off worst losses, we will need to wait for favorable conditions to return in Cebu, if any,” read a portion of the memo signed by Beep Cebu terminal operations head Michael Baldo and human resources director Edgar Jino Bartolata.
The move of Beep Cebu, however, did not sit well with the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board in Central Visayas (LTFRB-7) Director Eduardo Montealto Jr.
Montealto told Inquirer on Tuesday that the transport firm failed to inform LTFRB about its plan to temporarily suspend its operations.
“They only released an internal memorandum. I was really surprised when I learned about this. Why didn’t they inform us ahead of time? We could have sat down and talked about their concerns,” he said.
Montealto said he would issue a show cause order to let Beep Cebu explain its decision.
“They just could not cease operations without informing the LTFRB,” he said.
According to the transport firm, one of the reasons for the suspension of their operations was the ongoing Russia-Ukraine war which prevented the effective dispatch of their 20 Gazelle units that were manufactured in Russia.
The ongoing war, it said, has prevented Beep Cebu from sourcing spare parts for their Gazelle units.
The transport company also mentioned stiff competition, delays in the approval of their request for route modification, and the ongoing construction works for the Cebu Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) project as the other reasons for their decision to temporarily suspend operations.
Beep Cebu said the ongoing BRT construction works have been hurting them, especially the Guadalupe to Carbon route, which prevents the firm from earning.
The modern jeepney company has at least 58 units that ply routes from Cebu City Hall to IT Park, Banawa to Panagdait, Tabunok to IT Park, and Minglanilla to IT Park under a special permit.
“Until the above severe problems are resolved, effective Oct. 1, all drivers and passenger assistance officers will undergo a six-month temporary work suspension,” Beep Cebu said.
“All terminal staff will be placed under a flexible work arrangement to be discussed by terminal management,” it added.
Montealto of the LTFRB assured that Beep Cebu’s decision would not affect the availability of local transport.
The LTFRB, he said, could always find other transport companies to service the areas that would be vacated by the Beep Cebu units.
Montealto said about 20 percent of the modern jeepneys that were being operated by other corporations and cooperatives were still on standby waiting for their official dispatch.
Cebu City Councilor James Anthony Cuenco, chairperson of the city council’s committee on transportation, said he would ask the management of Beep Cebu so they could find ways to stop the suspension of its operations.
“What they are planning to do will not do good to the riding public. We hope to stop what they intend to do,” he said in an interview over dyLA.