Bus operators lose fight with LTFRB on GPS trackers
The Quezon City Regional Court has (QC-RTC) denied a transport group’s petition to suspend the enforcement of memorandum circulars issued by the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) requiring the installation of a global positioning system in provincial buses.
The Provincial Bus Operators Association of the Philippines (PBOAP) “failed to establish that it possessed a clear legal right that merits the protection of the court through the writ of preliminary injunction,” said the ruling of Judge Marilou Runes-Tamang of the QC-RTC Branch 98.
“It must be stressed that the enforcement of the subject circulars will not result as yet to a disenfranchisement of the public utility bus operation to the detriment of the riding public. It can still continue operating and serving the riding public subject only to the imposition of fines or penalties,” said the order released June 2.
The arguments raised by PBOAP “did not touch much on the issue of immediacy but more on the propriety and constitutionality of the questioned MCs” which are yet to be resolved in the main injunction case.”
In denying the preliminary injunction, the court “is not saying that the (LTFRB) did or did not act with abuse of discretion in issuing the subject circulars. Neither does it resolve the issue of the constitutionality of the assailed circulars,” the order said.
The court earlier issued a 20-day temporary restraining order on the GPS requirement, which would have been initially implemented on provincial buses entering Metro Manila starting May 1. With the TRO expiring on May 15, the implementation was moved to June 1.
Buses without GPS will be fined P1,000 per unit per month. Franchise confirmation will also be denied to noncompliant units.
LTFRB Chair Winston Ginez said the board was “pleased” with the court’s ruling as the installation of GPS aims to protect the riding public by regulating the speed of buses.
The government will also be able to better understand the supply of public transport through the GPS data while passengers will be able to monitor the availability and arrival of buses./rga