BAGUIO CITY – Mayor Benjamin B. Magalong urged the Land Transportation Franchising Regulatory Board (LTFRB) to immediately revoke the 400 taxi franchises that it previously opened for interested applicants in the city because of its expected serious repercussions to the current traffic woes of the city.
The local chief executive questioned the wisdom of the LTFRB in unilaterally approving the opening of the taxi franchises in the city without coordinating with the local government on whether or not there is still a need to open more taxi franchises for applicants of taxi units in the city.
“LTFRB is not the one managing the traffic in our city that is why it should be inherent on the regulatory body to first coordinate with the local government to evaluate and assess whether or not there is still need for more taxi units to ply the city’s limited routes,” Mayor Magalong stressed.
Earlier, the LTFRB reportedly authorized the opening of some 200 taxi franchises that will be on fleet management and reportedly approved another 200 franchises in lieu of the 195 taxi units that have already ceased to exist.
According to him, he already voiced out the opposition of the local government to the approved opening of the 200 taxi franchises on fleet management which was supposed to have been considered by LTFRB authorities but the same did not act on the matter as the regulatory body again approved another 200 franchises for the ones that ceased operations in the city.
The city mayor was saddened on the alleged refusal of LTFRB authorities to listen to the plight of local officials who are the ones that are aware of the expected negative impact of the additional taxi units that will operate in the city considering the status of roads and the increasing number of motor vehicles that are on the roads daily.
He stated that it is unfortunate that there are national agencies like the LTFRB that refuses to coordinate with the local government on the grant of franchises to applicants for issuance of franchises for public utility vehicles when it is the local officials who are aware of the prevailing situation in their areas of jurisdiction and who know on whether or not there is a need to approve more franchises for taxis, jeepneys, buses and garage vans in their places.
Based on the data obtained from the LTFRB, there are some 5,215 registered public utility jeepneys, 3,246 registered taxis, 459 public utility van express and 345 buses.
Magalong explained that the initial opposition that he raised should have been a clear message to the LTFRB to reconsider its initial decision to approve the 200 taxi franchises on fleet management but higher authorities seem not to have listened to the valid points that were raised against such action and instead approved another 200 taxi franchises in lieu of the ones that ceased operations thereby casting doubts on the LTFRB on the efforts of local officials to ease the worsening traffic congestions in thei8r areas of jurisdiction among other reasons.
He expressed optimism that the LTFRB will reconsider its decision on the approved taxi franchises because the eventual operation of the approved additional taxi units will definitely create a nightmare on the city’s traffic woes considering the enormous number of motor vehicles that will exist on the city’s roads.
By Dexter A. See