Nationalist People’s Coalition (NPC) Congressman Win Gatchalian has urged the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) to strictly implement its memorandum circular requiring public utility vehicles to have their own garage before being issued the necessary franchise.
Gatchalian, a senior vice chair of the House Committee on Metro Manila Development, was referring to LTFRB Memorandum Circular No. 2011-012, which specifies the agency’s standards for garages and lists the requirements for taxis, public utility buses (PUBs), Asian utility vehicles (AUVs) public utility jeepneys (PUJs), and jumbo PUJs.
“The LTFRB must be stringent in enforcing its own memorandum circular that requires all PUVs to have their own garages to ease the worsening traffic in Metro Manila,” said Gatchalian.
LTFRB’s memorandum circular complements House Bill No. 5098, to be known as the “Proof of Parking Space Act”, which is principally authored by Gatchalian.
If enacted, HB 5098 will require buyers of brand new cars, whether individuals or firms, to execute an affidavit indicating the availability of an existing parking space for the vehicle to be bought.
Gatchalian maintains that private individuals and corporations who have the means to buy brand new vehicles should also have the money to buy or lease a parking facility. The same goes to operators of public utility vehicles.
“If operators have enough capital to purchase their vehicles, they should also have money to buy or lease a parking facility. Streets belong to the public sphere, no one has the right to make them private parking spaces. It is crucial to think how to operate a business without causing inconvenience to the public,” explained Gatchalian.
He finds it ironic that the LTFRB has been remiss in its duty to implement the “no garage, no franchise” policy which the agency should have started implementing on Nov. 18, 2011.
Based on the LTFRB Memo Circular 2011-012, a major requirement for the issuance of franchises is for PUV operators to have garages, which should be inspected by the concerned LTFRB regional offices before the issuance of franchise for at least five years.
The LTFRB requires a total parking lot area of at least 35 square meters/unit is needed for public utility buses. It should be 15, 20, and 25 square meters/unit for taxis, AUVs/PUJs, and jumbo PUJs, respectively. Maintenance facilities are also required for all units.
The memorandum circular also requires concerned regional directors to “conduct inspections of garages within their jurisdiction at least once a year and submit an annual report thereon to the Board.” It also states: “Franchises of units which cannot be accommodated in the garage shall be cancelled.”
Those that need to apply for a new Certificate of Public Convenience such as tourist transport services, school services, and trucks-for-hire also need to submit a location map and picture with the garage’s dimension as well as Transfer Certificate of Title or tax declaration. A contract of lease with specific garage area can also be submitted.
Gatchalian highlighted the need to lessen the number of vehicles on streets as a solution to Metro Manila’s exacerbating road congestion, which can be expected to hit new highs at the onset of the Christmas season.
The Valenzuela City lawmaker filed HB 5098 in October last year as traffic along EDSA and other major thoroughfares started to worsen because the supposed secondary and even tertiary roads are clogged by illegally parked vehicles on either sides.
Engr. Emilio Llavor, chief of the Planning and Design Division and head of the Road Safety Unit of the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) Traffic Engineering Center, was quoted by the UP Forum as saying: “The magic bullet is to reduce the number of vehicles on the road.” (Monica Cantilero)