LTFRB permanently revokes permit of 2 bus firms

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'While we recognize the financial effect on the part of the employees of the two bus companies, the rule of law must prevail above all.'

REVOKED. The LTFRB has permanently revoked the permits of two bus operators involved in a fatal EDSA accident on November 14, 2013. EPA file photo

MANILA, Philippines – The Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) has permanently revoked the permit of two bus companies involved in an accident that killed seven people and injured more than 30 passengers along EDSA late last year.

LTRFB chairman Winston Ginez said on Friday, March 7, that the board has declined the Motion for Reconsideration separately filed by Elena Liner and MGP Trans, operators of the buses that had figured in the accident along EDSA-Magallanes on Nov 14, 2013.

“While we recognize the financial effect on the part of the employees of the two bus companies, the rule of law must prevail above all. The safety of the riding public is the paramount and primordial consideration of the Board,” Ginez said.

In its 12-page decision issued that day, the LTFRB said  both Elena Liner and MGP Trans committed unlawful acts under the Public Service Law for failure to provide safe, proper and adequate public transport service.

Ginez said the LTFRB has decided to cancel Elena Liner’s Certificate of Public Convenience (CPC) and revert it back to the State. It also ordered the bus company to cease and desist from operating its CPC covering 21 authorized units.

The yellow plates of these units will be confiscated by the Board, and destroyed prior to their turnover to the LTO.

The LTFRB also ordered the cancellation of MGP Trans’ CPC covering 18 units, and directed the bus company to cease and desist from operating these units whose yellow plates will be destroyed prior to turnover to the LTO.

“Muli naming pinapaalalahan ang mga PUB/PUV operators na maging masinop sila sa pagsasa-ayos ng kanilang operasyon para masiguro na ang kanilang mga unit ay ligtas para ibyahe para sa kapakanan ng mga mananakay,” Ginez said.

(Let us again remind the PUB/PUV operators to be meticulous in managing their operations to ensure that their unit is safe for travel, for the welfare of passengers.)

On November 14, 2013, an Elena Liner bus rammed into a bus stop along the EDSA-Magallanes southbound lane, rear-ending an MGP Trans bus. The accident led to 7 deaths and hurt over 30 passengers.

It was learned that the Elena Liner bus had lost its brakes while the other bus operated without a permit – grounds for the the initial issuance of Preventive Suspension Orders (PSOs) for both companies.

Legal considerations

The LTFRB cited several considerations for its latest decision, among them, that the Public Service Law empowers the Board to issue a PSO prior to the public hearing, and as a precautionary measure to avoid a recurrence of the accident and protect the riding public.

The LTFRB also said that while Elena Liner provided medical and burial financial assistance to the victims, this is its obligation under its CPC, and not enough to absolve it from the lapse.

The LTFRB said Elena Liner failed to observe extraordinary diligence during its operation by allowing the concerned bus unit to operate without a prior check of roadworthiness before dispatching it, resulting to the accident.

The Board dismissed the contention of  Elena Liner that its concerned bus driver must be first convicted for recklessness before the LTFRB can require the operator to prove that the bus company exercised extraordinary diligence in the operation.

The LTFRB also said that the operator, and not the driver alone, is responsible for the proper maintenance of the bus units involved.

Another issue considered by the LTFRB is that based on evidence, Elena Liner failed to observe the required extraordinary diligence by allowing a defective bus unit to be dispatched.

In the case of the MGP Trans, the LTFRB deemed as self-serving the allegation of its operator that it was the dispatcher and driver who dispatched the bus unit that had no permit. It said this was in violation of the terms and condition of its CPC as it endangered public safety.

The Board also said that MGP Trans violated LTFRB’s Standard Classification and Guidelines for Garages when it discovered that the bus company’s garage in West Fairview lacked a sufficient parking lot  and inadequate repair shop and equipment. –

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