MANILA: Complaints against erring public utility vehicle (PUV) drivers can now be reported 24/7 through the newly-launched Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) hotline number 1342.
LTFRB Chairman Winston Ginez, during the launch of the hotline number on Monday, told reporters that it will replace all the old numbers displayed on all PUVs in the country.
Ginez pointed out that aside from operating 24 hours a day, seven days a week, the new hotline number will also be the same for every region nationwide, not like the old hotline number which varied depending on the location of the region.
Callers using PLDT lines and those using Smart, Talk ‘n Text, and Sun lines within and outside Metro Manila need to dial “1342”, while postpaid Globe/TM callers within and outside Metro Manila need to dial “1342”. Prepaid Globe/TM callers and all Globe lines within outside Metro Manila need to dial “(02) 1342”.
He also said that a text hotline will work the same way but with the added feature of being able to send photos and videos of incident reports and the like through messaging app, Viber at 0917-550-1342 for Globe and TM subscribers or 0998-550-1342 for Smart, Talk ‘n Text and Sun users.
The hotline number was also activated to address concerns on road safety, provide assistance on pending applications, provide information on services rendered by the Board, and answer queries on application requirements as well as clarify existing and proposed policies of the Board.
“We want to bring LTFRB closer to the people so that they feel that the government is ready to take action and ready to listen to them,” Ginez said on the sidelines of the launching ceremony.
“We encourage the public to report erring PUB/PUV drivers violating traffic rules and regulations,” he added.
The Board is next set to issue a Memorandum Circular that will be distributed to all registered PUV operators nationwide to order them to change the current numbers posted on their authorized public vehicles after due consultation with transport operators and commuter organizations.
Ginez said that the Board has tapped the business process outsourcing (BPO) company, Dynamic Outsourcing Solutions 1 Inc. (DOS-1) to provide call center agents who will act on calls and texts received from the public.
He noted that a budget of about PhP 5-million was allotted for the activation of the hotline and services provided by the BPO company, which also provides the same service for the Commission on Filipinos Overseas (CFO).
After receiving calls and classifying them, the agents will coordinate and forward the data received to LTFRB’s Public Assistance & Complaint Desk personnel.
DOS-1 president and CEO Edgardo Cayton, in an interview with the Philippines News Agency, said that there are initially 12 agents assigned to pick up calls and send them to the LTFRB daily.
“We have a dozen agents handling this (hotline),” Cayton said, noting that the company will have to weigh in on increasing the number of agents should it be necessary. He said that one call usually takes three to five minutes.
“Let’s see what we can do to cope with (more) calls. We should know what to do when the volume is up,” he added.
Before the new hotline number was launched, Ginez said that the Board conducted hearings for an average of 50 to 70 complaints daily. There are five hearing officers at the LTFRB main office in Quezon City.
In 2014, he said over 10,000 complaints were reported, majority of them due to taxi drivers’ declining passengers, and taxi drivers’ rude behavior.
Cayton, meanwhile, said that the number of complaints is expected to increase to 200 to 500 with the new hotline number being easier and quicker to dial.
The LTFRB chief said that the Board is also planning to impose a fine of PhP 5,000 on PUV operators for failure to comply with the order of the Board or failure to file an answer versus a complaint filed against them.
If the complainant appears (during a hearing), there should be an operator that will also show up,” Ginez said, adding that both parties will receive a notice to attend the hearing via mail.
Transport operators present during the launch, meanwhile, argued that complainants should still file a formal complaint with any of the Board’s offices before a hearing is scheduled, and that fines should also be imposed on complainants that do not attend hearings.
Ginez, however, said that this has yet to undergo consultation.
”While we are thinking of a setup that will give operators less inconvenience, our priority will always be the commuters,” he said.