LTFRB issues show cause orders against EDSA Busway consortiums

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, October 18) — The two consortiums operating along the EDSA Busway were asked to explain the low deployment of units and the reported non-payment of salaries of its employees.

The Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) issued the show cause orders on Monday to the ES Transport and Partners Consortium and the Mega Manila Consortium Corporation, the same day long queues were seen on EDSA Monumento.

LTFRB chairman Martin Delgra said the two consortiums were ordered to explain the deployment of an insufficient number of units.

“Minabuti nating mag-issue ng [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 cancelled, suspended or that they be not penalized for deploying so few units,” he said in a media briefing.

Delgra said the deployment on Monday averaged as low as 120 units, far from the agreed cap allowing a maximum of 550 units. He pointed to the insufficient deployment as the cause for the long queues experienced by passengers.

In the same briefing, Transport assistant secretary Steve Pastor said operators should expect more passengers on public transport, following the easing of the alert level status in Metro Manila.

“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 at any given time,” he said.

[Translation: We are reminding our operator friends that what we are doing with the EDSA Busway or public transportation in general is the need to follow our service level on how many units must be deployed at any given time.]

The LTFRB said it will also look into "persistent reports" of non-payment of salaries of drivers and conductors under the two consortiums.

Delgra questioned the supposed delays despite having already paid the operators under the government’s service contracting program. He said the consortiums had lapses in fulfilling their obligations to their employees.

“Now that we have paid so much of this to operators already, particularly dito sa EDSA Busway consortium or anyone for that matter, hindi na nila pwedeng gawing rason ang hindi pagbabayad sa kanilang drivers,” Delgra said.

[Translation: Now that we have paid so much of this to operators already, particularly the EDSA Busway Consortium or anyone for that matter, they can no longer give reasons why they cannot pay their drivers.]

This was not the first-time drivers under the service contracting program complained about the slow payout. In August, the LTFRB had to revert funds to the Budget department and request for another allocation, causing delays in the release of payments to the drivers.

RELATED: LTFRB hopes to pay PUV drivers under service contracting during ECQ period

Under the service contracting program, drivers and operators of PUVs may avail of a one-time payout of P4,000 and weekly payments per kilometer traveled, regardless of the number of passengers.