BAGUIO CITY – The Cordillera office of the Department of Transportation and Communication (DOTC-CAR) warned operators and drivers of public utility jeepneys on the repeated complaints of the riding public for overloading since such violation would entail heavy penalties on both the operators and drivers found to be violating such rules and regulations.
Lawyer Brenda Poklay, DOTC-CAR legal counsel, said that the franchises issued to jeepneys clearly specify the number of passengers to be accommodated, inclusive of the driver, in order for the riding public to have confortable, convenient, safe and secure travel from their points of origin to their points of destination, thus, overloading which is a common practice among jeepneys is considered to be gross violation of the franchise issued to operators.
“We will intensify our operations against overloaded jeepneys in order to send a clear message that we mean business in the enforcement of existing rules and regulations to ensure the safety of the riding public,” Poklay stressed.
Perfecto Itliong, Jr., regional coordinator of the Cordillera office of the Public Transport
Affairs Office (PTAO-CAR) admitted overloading is a common practice among jeepneys, especially during rush hours, because of the heavy influx of passengers to the different terminals considering that most of the jeepneys servicing the different routes are locked up in traffic en route to their points of destination or their terminals.
He said coordination will be done with the barkers of the different jeepney associations in the city for them to strictly follow the number of passengers to be loaded in the jeepneys as stated in their franchise and on the sidings of the bodies of the jeepneys to prevent discomfort and inconvenience among passengers.
Itliong called on jeepney operators to constantly remind their drivers not to overload their vehicles because they are the ones who will shoulder bulk of the penalties to be imposed on them by the Land Transportation Franchising Regulatory Board (LTFRB) once apprehended for such violation.
Under existing rules and regulations, operators of jeepneys found to be overloading will be imposed a fine of P5,000 for the first offense while drivers will also be meted a fine of P1,000 for the first offense among others.
Among the common overloading practices of jeepneys include allowing excess passengers to ride on top of the vehicles and allowing them to go down before checkpoints, allowing passengers to stand on the rear portion of the vehicles.
Pilay said jeepney drivers are being constantly warned against overloading but it seems they cannot avoid the temptations of overloading considering the huge number of passengers needing their services, especially during rush hours.
According to her, overloading is common among jeepneys plying inter-municipal lines due to the limited number of jeepneys servicing the said routes that is why law enforcers tolerate such practice as they understand the predicament of the riding public who might be late in their schools and offices.
Earlier, the LTFRB imposed a moratorium on the approval of additional franchises in the city following the request of the city government due to its serious negative effect to the traffic problem of the city over the past years. By Dexter A. See