LTFRB to intensify drive against older buses

Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, April 24) — Transport regulators on Monday said they will enforce procedures that prohibit the use of buses older than 15 years to prevent a repeat of a tragic accident that killed 33 people in Nueva Ecija.

Read: Transport groups concerned about PUV phaseout

The Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) said it plans use the vehicles' date of manufacture to determine how old a passenger bus is.

Enforcement of this provision is on their agenda in its meeting to review improvements on Department Order 2002-30.

The Order states: "No unit shall be the subject of a new application for franchise, for extension of validity of Certificate of Public Conveyance (CPC), for substitution of unit, and for increase of number of unit(s), if said unit is more than the minimum age requirement as specified below by the time of expiration of the covering CPC."

It adds that public utility buses and smaller buses such as shuttle buses, "should not be more than fifteen years old reckoned from the date of manufacture of subject vehicle."

However, the date a bus is imported into the Philippines is used as the basis for its age, according to LTFRB Chairman Martin Delgra. But the Order cannot be fully implemented due to the LTFRB's lack of personnel.

But a bus is often older than this date, it added.

The LTFRB says older buses are more prone to malfunctioning, and this is often the reason its engine, steering wheel, or brakes fail while plying its routes.

This is what happened to Leomarick bus that fell into a ravine in Carrangalan, Nueva Ecija on April 18.

The bus was last registered in 2006, but authorities are still trying for find out how old the vehicle was based in its chassis which is still being examined.

Read: At least 33 killed in Nueva Ecija bus crash

Public cooperation urged

The LTFRB is also urging passengers and commuters to stop using old buses anywhere in the country.

It said there are signs which can be used to determine a passenger bus's age. Some buses have importation dates painted on its side, however, its date of manufacture is likely older.

The physical appearance of a bus can also give away its age, as wear and tear is visible.

The LTFRB is also stepping up its drive against "colorum" vans in the provinces, even as some these illegal operators threaten their employees by sending them flower arrangements meant for funerals.

The Philippine National Police-Highway Patrol Group said it would send more personnel to help enforcers crack down on vans that are not properly licensed to ferry passengers. It did not say how many or to which areas the personnel would be dispatched to.

Lack of barriers, road signs along Daang Maharlika Highway