A transport group sees strict enforcement of the law as one of the effective measures in ensuring that operators and drivers of public utility vehicles get to take home bigger income amid the continuous rise in fuel costs and the instability of the oil pricing in the international market.
Lawyer Vigor Mendoza II, chairman and president of 1 United Transport Alliance Koalisyon, said most of the drivers and operators lose significant amount of their supposed income to corruption on the street and the unfair boundary system in the public transport system in the country.
He identified what he describes as three evils in the public transport system as Kupit (stealing in unnoticeable, casual way), Kolorum (operation of PUV without permit), and Kotong (extortion).
“These are three evils in the street that plague our transport system, discourage investments, and reduce the income of our legitimate transport operators,” said Mendoza in a statement.
“Once these three perennial problems are eradicated, this will result in at least P60 savings which can be used to offset fuel costs,” he added.
Mendoza said the problem on “kupit” eats up as much as 20 percent of an operator’s daily income or approximately P2,000 per day for public utility jeepneys and P3,000 for passenger buses. He said this is also the reason why the boundary system is widely used.
“A new kind of enforcement would be necessary in order to apprehend the culprits. The prosecution and enforcement arm of the LTO would have to be beefed up, re-channeled, and upgraded in order to meet the challenges,” said Mendoza.
“If ‘kupit’ can be eradicated, operators would move away from boundary and the additional income would mean a P30 peso fuel subsidy for passenger jeepneys and buses,” said Mendoza.
He stressed that this problem can be eradicated by mandating card fare payment instead of cash payment.
The Land Transportation Office considers passenger vehicles as colorum under the following circumstances:
1. Private motor vehicle operating as a PUV but without proper authority from the LTFRB;
2. A PUV operating outside of its approved route or area without a prior permit from the Board or outside the exceptions provided under existing memorandum circulars;
3. PUV operating differently from its authorized denomination (ex. Those approved as school service but operating as UV express, or those approved as tourist bus transport but operating as city or provincial bus);
4. A PUV with suspended or cancelled CPC and the Decision/Order of suspension or cancellation is executor;
5. PUV with expired CPC and without a pending application for extension of validity timely filed before the Board.
Mendoza said one of the problems in the proliferation of colorum passenger vehicles is that the driver would take advantage of any situation to overcharge passengers, especially during rush hours.
“Kolorum vehicles continue to operate during rush hours. They eat up the income of the legitimate operator by as much as 20 percent,” said Mendoza.
This was the reason, according to Mendoza, why then President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo issued an Executive Order creating the Presidential Anti Kotong and Kolorum Task Force headed by a cabinet secretary.
“If successful, this again will generate another P30 fuel subsidy,” said Mendoza.
According to Mendoza, “kotong” is the same as kolorum in the sense that it will generate savings for operators.
“All in all, we are looking at savings, if translated to fuel cost, of around P60 to P70 per liter. This would literally wipe out the increase in fuel cost for the last couple of months,” said Mendoza.
“Enforcement is the key for non-monetary intervention to address high fuel cost. But the traditional enforcement strategies will not work. It’s just a matter of learning from past experiences and tweaking it to be more effective and results driven,” he added.