With a few days left before the Holy Week exodus, the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) released a memorandum circular limiting the driving hours of public utility bus drivers to just six hours a day to avoid mishaps on the road.
“We are setting a maximum of six hours for bus drivers to drive. So bus companies should have an alternate driver if their units will travel for over six hours,” LTFRB spokesperson and board member Aileen Lizada said in an interview aired over radio station dzBB.
She said that conductors are not allowed to become alternate drivers. Also, if an accident happens, the lack of an alternate driver can be an aggravating circumstance against the transport company especially if there is damage to property and loss of lives.
Under Memorandum Circular 2017-012, public utility bus operators are directed to require their drivers to drive for a maximum of six hours starting today.
“The conductor cannot be an alternate driver in order for him to provide continuous assistance to the passengers,” it added.
The LTFRB has set the following penalties for non-compliance: P5,000 for the first offense; P10,000 for the second offense; and 60-day suspension for the third offense.
Meanwhile, the LTFRB has approved 1,153 special permits to augment the 8,000 franchised buses going in and out of Metro Manila during Holy Week, from April 9 to 17.
Lizada said 232,000 passengers board buses to and from provinces during the Holy Week.
She said the agency has also reminded legitimate UV Express operators not to overload their units.
The LTFRB will also intensify its drive against operators of colorum vehicles, or those that do not have any government document to operate as public utility vehicles. Lizada said passengers cannot make insurance claims against the operator of a colorum vehicle in case of an accident.