LTFRB issues show-cause orders to EDSA Busway consortiums

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The Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) has issued show-cause orders against two consortiums operating along the EDSA Busway.

According to LTFRB, both parties were asked to explain allegations and reports of insufficient deployment of buses and non-payment of employees’ salaries despite having received payments for the Libreng Sakay Program.

“We saw it proper to issue a show-cause order, directing the two consortiums running the EDSA Busway why their franchise or special permit in running the EDSA Busway should not be canceled, suspended or that they are not penalized for deploying so few units,” explained LTFRB Chairman Martin Delgra yesterday during the Department of Transportation’s (DOTr) Road Sector media briefing.

The LTFRB Chairman also added that the agreed cap on the maximum allowable units of bus units is at 550 buses but the two consortiums on Monday only averaged as low as 120 units.

“We saw earlier that the two consortiums only averaged only about 150 units, or maybe even lower, at around 120 units if I’m not mistaken. We have to call their attention and direct the two consortiums to explain why the employment of these units,” said Delgra.

“Now that we have paid so much of this to operators already, particularly (to the) EDSA Busway Consortium or anyone for that matter, hindi na nila pwedeng gawing rason ang hindi pagbabayad sa kanilang (they have no reason not to pay their) drivers,” added the LTFRB Chairman.

He also reminded the two consortiums to be responsible as there is an employee-employer relationship between parties and their contractual obligation as mandated by the Labor Code for the EDSA Busway Libreng Sakay Program.

Mayroong kakulangan ang mga bus operators dito sa hindi pagbabayad ng mga sweldo ng kanilang mga tauhan (there is negligence on the part of the bus operators for not giving their employees their salaries). There is an employee-employer relationship doon sa mga bus operator and doon sa mga tsuper at konduktor that they hired (between the bus operators and the drivers and conductors that they hired),” he clarified.

“I’d like to remind the bus operators, this is just not a contractual obligation but it is also an obligation that is mandated under the labor code. So, kailangan nilang bayaran ‘yang sweldo na ‘yan. Kikita man o sa palagay nilang malulugi sa palagay nila, kailangan paring bayaran ang sweldo (so, they need to pay their salaries whether they are making profit or losing money, they need to pay their employees’ salaries),” stressed Delgra.

Likewise, Department of Transportation (DOTr) Assistant Secretary for Road Transport and Infrastructure Mark Steven Pastor also reminded operators of their obligation to the public, explaining that “public transport is imbued with great public interest” amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

Alam natin na binaba dito sa NCR ang Alert Status to Level 3 kung kaya’t mas maraming pasahero ang sumakay (we know that the NCR is now on Alert Status Level 3, allowing more passengers to ride the buses). As Secretary Tugade always says — public health and public safety are at stake. Ipinapaalala natin sa mga kaibigang operators na itong ginagawa natin sa EDSA Busway or public transportation in general ay kinakailangan lagi tayong tumalima sa ating service level kung ilang units ang kinakailangang i-deploy (We are reminding the operators on the EDSA Busway or public transportation to comply to the service level and follow the number of units they need to deploy) at any given time,” said Asec. Pastor.

Photo from the Department of Transportation

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