Stricter penalties vs erring PUV drivers eyed

By , on October 5, 2017

Aileen Lourdes A. Lizada (Photo: LTFRB Citizen Enforcer/Facebook)
FILE: LTFRB Board Member and Spokesperson Aileen Lourdes A. Lizada (Photo: LTFRB Citizen Enforcer/Facebook)

MANILA — The Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) will coordinate with the Land Transportation Office (LTO) in drafting guidelines that would impose stricter penalties against erring public utility vehicle (PUV) drivers.

Drivers, and not only the operators, should be held accountable for every infraction they commit, said LTFRB board member and spokesperson Aileen Lizada.

“In the current structure, if a driver commits a violation, the operator is the one being imposed with penalties. Drivers are not penalized,” Lizada said in an interview with reporters Thursday.

The LTFRB will propose that the license of drivers be suspended for three months for the first offense and six months for the second offense, and that it be revoked for third offense.

For his part, LTFRB Chairman Martin Delgra III said he expects that incidents of taxi drivers snubbing and haggling with passengers would be reduced after the Board’s approval of higher taxi fares.

“We are appealing to the taxi drivers not to impose any additional fees or be choosy in their passengers. We are giving the opportunities for you to earn more with the fare hike. At the same time, they are doing this for public service,” Delgra said.

Under the new taxi fare scheme, the flagdown rate remains at PHP40, but PHP13.50 will be charged for every kilometer of distance travelled, and PHP2 per minute of running time in the National Capital Region and the provinces except in the Cordillera Administrative Region (CAR).

For taxis operating in CAR, the flagdown rate will be at PHP35 with the same rates for distance traveled and travel time.

The Board explained that the increase was granted due to the recent spate of oil price hikes, as well as the emergence of transportation network companies (TNCs) that connect drivers and passengers through mobile applications.

LTFRB likewise urged taxi operators and drivers to be compliant with the omnibus franchising guidelines (OFG) of the public utility vehicle (PUV) modernization program of the government.

The OFG states that PUVs should have closed-circuit television (CCTV) cameras, a GPS navigation system, speed limiters, dashboard cameras, and free Wi-Fi connectivity.

The LTFRB has also created a driving academy for PUV drivers and operators to inculcate road safety lessons to lessen accidents on the road and proper etiquette when dealing with passengers. Its courses focus on anger management; road courtesy; terms and conditions of certificates of public convenience; and traffic rules and regulations.