By Gerome Dalipe IV
The Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) has opened at least two new routes for Western Visayas under the Public Utility Vehicle (PUV) Modernization Program of the Department of Transportation (DOTr).
The transport agency has released Memorandum Circular 2020-001 announcing the opening of 17 new routes in nine different regions in the country, including two new routes in Western Visayas.
The new routes cover Oton to Dumangas Port with a distance of 44.2 kilometers and Oton to Leganes, Iloilo via Santa Barbara with a distance of 25.9 kilometers.
Pursuant to the memo circular, interested transport coops are required to come up with at least 15 UV Express units, or Class 3, for the Oton to Dumangas Port.
For Oton to Leganes, Iloilo via Santa Barbara route, the qualified cooperative is mandated to deploy at least 15 modernized jeepneys, or Class 2.
The above routes are considered developmental since no public utility jeepneys (PUJ) ply in these routes.
In both new routes, the LTFRB requires the transport cooperatives or corporations joining the bidding to deploy Class 2 modern PUJs.
Under the new memo circular, only PUJ units compliant to the Omnibus Franchise Guidelines and the Department of Trade and Industry – Philippine National Standard (PNS) will be accepted in the bidding process.
Likewise, only cooperatives, corporations or consortiums can apply for the modern PUV units.
The applicants for the new franchise may upgrade their unit from Class 2 to Class 3.
Class 2 units are air-conditioned and the passengers will be seated facing the front of the vehicle.
The initial qualification process failed after the lone bidder did not qualify during the pre-evaluation hearing last Jan. 20, 2010.
Joscet Buyco-Abellar, LTFRB-6 legal officer and pre-qualification committee chairperson, said that interested transport cooperatives or corporations may submit a letter of intent and “qualification documents” to LTFRB-6.
“In case of failure on the initial qualification process, interested applicants shall be given 10 working days reckoned from the date when the initial qualification has been declared a failure to file their letter of intent and qualification documents,” read the memo circular.
If there is no applicant after 10 days, the LTFRB-6 regional director will announce the new date for pre-qualification hearing.
The applications will be processed and selected using the guidelines set forth under the Guidelines on the Process of Issuance of Certificate of Public Convenience and Provisional Authority/Special Permit under the Omnibus Franchising Guidelines and Public Utility Vehicle Modernization Program issued on March 15, 2019.
Records from the LTFRB-6 showed there are about 22 modern public utility jeepneys plying in major streets in Iloilo City.
The above new units are part of the 11,000 units needed to be rationalized and modernized in Western Visayas.
These modern PUVs will reinforce the Integrated Intermodal Transport System (IITS) of the DOTr that includes bus rapid transit, point to point bus system, skyways, and monorail that will all converge in one depot or terminal.