Commuters 'to suffer more' due to P2P service for UV Express

MANILA, Philippines – Transportation groups argued that the biggest loser in the government's stricter enforcement of the point-to-point (P2P) service for UV Express shuttles are the commuters.

This was the common cry of transportation groups Samahang Manibela Mananakay at Nagkaisang Terminal ng Transportasyon (SMMITT) and the Alliance of Concerned Transport Organizations (ACTO), which faced the House committee on Metro Manila development on Thursday, May 30.

SMMITT's Mar Valbuena explained the policy would not only increase commuting time for passengers, but also force them to spend more for their fares.

"Halimbawa, senior citizen ka, galing Fairview, pupunta ng PGH (Philippine General Hospital). Bababa pa po ba ng Buendia, tapos babalik po, sasakay uli? It's time-consuming, and then dagdag pa sa pamasahe sa mga riding public, hindi po ba?" said Valbuena.

(For example, you're a senior citizen coming from Fairview and going to PGH. Does this mean you can only get off at Buendia, then you have to ride again to go back to PGH? It's time-consuming. And it increases the fare of the riding public, right?)

He said his group is not entirely against the P2P system, but they are hoping UV Express vehicles would be allowed to have 3 unloading points between terminals. 

"Bubuhayin mo ang P2P ng UV Express. So hindi naman po kami totally against. Pero sana ho nagkaroon ho ng public hearing, public consultation, na sana ho magkaroon kami ng at least 3 drop-off unloading points," said Valbuena.

(You will revive the P2P service for UV Express. We're not totally against it. But we were hoping there was a public hearing, public consultation about it, where we could have suggested having 3 drop-off unloading points.) 

On Tuesday, May 28, the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) announced it will strictly enforce P2P service for UV Express shuttles.

UV Express vehicles were initially supposed to operate point-to-point, but the LTFRB passed a memorandum in 2009 that allowed the dropping off and picking up of passengers within a two-kilometer radius from end points.

But the LTFRB said it is now difficult to enforce this memorandum due to violations of the policy.

ACTO national president Efren de Luna, however, said the LTFRB supposedly did not consult UV Express operators and drivers before making its decision final. He said this was unlike in 2009, when the LTFRB heard the complaints of UV Express passengers.  

"Kasi ang nangyari po diyan, no'ng nagkaroon po ng tinatawag natin na consultation...pinagbigyan kami doon sa two-kilometer radius dahil ang nagreklamo ho doon ay pasahero at bukod na rin po kami. At nagkaroon ng magandang dialogue. Pero no'ng nagkaroon ng tinatawag natin na pagbawi nila, ay wala man lamang consultation," said De Luna.  

He then blamed the perennial traffic problem on the LTFRB granting franchises to other transport vehicles like Angkas.

"Ang nagiging problema natin, ang sinasabi natin, nagiging cause ng traffic. Hindi po totoo 'yun. Dapat pag-aralan pa ng gobyerno kung bakit nagsisikip ang tinatawag natin na kalsada. Bakit? Dahil bigay sila ng bigay sa iba't ibang sektor ng transportasyon ng tinatawag na prangkisa!" said De Luna.

LTFRB Chairman Martin Delgra III, however, previously said they started consultations in 2018.

"The last one was earlier this year at the Central Office kung saan ipinaliwanag ang madalas na practice ng pagbababa at pagsasakay ng mga pasahero (where we explained the practice of dropping off and picking up passengers) anywhere between destinations, in violation of their franchise," Delgra said.

The LTFRB has tapped the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority and the Inter-Agency Council on Traffic to apprehend UV Express drivers who would violate the policy. – Rappler.com

Mara Cepeda

Mara Cepeda writes about politics and women’s rights for Rappler. She covers the House of Representatives and the Office of the Vice President. Got tips? Send her an email at mara.cepeda@rappler.com or shoot her a tweet @maracepeda.

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