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Easing up traffic

Egay Uy .

THE move of the  Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) to introduce improvements in the taxi services is laudable.  The new memorandum circular of the LTFRB, MC No. 2019-014, requires an applicant to have at least 50 brand new taxi units before it could be granted a franchise or a certificate of public convenience to operate its fleet.  Hence it is best for smaller operators to group themselves into one bigger organization or cooperative to be able to secure a franchise or certificate of public convenience.

Aside from the minimum number of units, the LTFRB also requires taxi units to be equipped with CCTV cameras, dashboard cameras, global positioning systems, and an internet connection.  The Land Transportation Office (LTO) on the other hand, has reportedly said it will not renew the registration of taxi units unless the LTFRB has confirmed their compliance with applicable regulations.

While the move of the franchising office is laudable, I strongly suggest that the actual number of taxi units plying the city streets be checked and those that are legally operating be the only ones alllowed to serve the public.

It cannot be denied that “colorum” units are also plying city streets and are being operated as legitimate units, and they add up to the traffic mess.  Without even checking the official records, one can find taxi units literally flooding certain areas in the city.

One can just take a look at the terminal in Bulua where probably hundreds of taxi units wait for their turn to service passengers alighting from buses from the western part of Cagayan de Oro. Then there is always a long queue of taxi units in SM City in the uptown area of the city.

Check the shopping malls along Recto Avenue — SM Premiere, Gaisano City and Mall, Centrio Ayala Mall, Puregold, and the Limketkai Shopping Complex – and you will find taxi units occupying the side streets lining up waiting for passengers from these shopping malls.  The same can also be said of the taxi units at the Capitol University Medical Center.

If you happen to stroll along Divisoria, just pass by RN Abejuela and Corrales-Tirso Neri streets and you will never miss to see taxi units lining up for passengers.

While the LTFRB-10 covers the entire region, it cannot be denied that bulk of the taxi units are being operated in Cagayan de Oro City.  It is therefore high time that the LTFRB strictly implement applicable rules and regulations, and probably wait for the Local Public Transport Route Plan (LPTRP) of the local government, which I believe is already being crafted, before it issues new franchises or provisional authorities for additional taxi units — or even other public utility vehicles — to operate in Cagayan de Oro City.

Once the LPTRP will have been approved and implemented, then probably the traffic mess that the city is in will be eased up a bit. Of course, discipline of motorists, pedestrians and commuters, and the consistency of traffic law enforcers in implementing rules and regulations, come as a necessary requisite for our traffic mess to be seriously addressed.

(Egay Uy is a lawyer. He chairs the City’s Regulatory and Complaint Board, co-chairs with the city mayor the City Price Coordinating Council, and chairs the city’s Joint Inspection Team.  He retired as a vice president of Cepalco.)


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