Makati to LTFRB: Don’t suspend free shuttle

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THE city government of Makati on Friday asked the Land Transportation and Franchising Regulatory Board (LTFRB) not to suspend its free shuttle services for Makati-bound passengers of the Metro Rail Transit (MRT).

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Mayor Jejomar Erwin Binay made the call after the LTFRB wrote a letter requiring Makati to apply for a special permit and submit other requirements if it wants to continue the service. Makati began its free shuttle services two weeks ago in a bid to help stranded MRT passengers who are mostly employees at the Central Business District (CBD).

Binay said the city is studying the applicability of the LTFRB’s requirement to Makati.

“We received an application form for a permit to operate out of line from the LTFRB and we are studying it. Our vehicles are city-government vehicles. We do not have a franchise or a line,” he said.

Binay said Makati was prompted to provide the free bus rides because it felt the situation at the MRT stations during workday mornings constituted an emergency.

“This is an emergency situation that requires quick and decisive action. We want to help ease the suffering of the riders who are mostly employees in Makati companies. It has already affected their productivity,” he said.

Makati City Administrator Eleno Mendoza said the city will surely comply with LTFRB requirements once it resolves the issue of applicability with the agency.

Mendoza said initially, the city feels that it can provide free shuttle services to employees working in the city under the Local Government Code and the Public Service Act.

He cited, in particular, Section 13 (a) of the Public Service Act which states that “public services owned and operated by government entities shall not be required to obtain Certificates of Public Convenience.”

“We feel that Makati should not be treated like a private operator and be required to apply for a special permit for out of line operation as required by the LTFRB,” he said.

The city government started providing free rides to employees working in Makati last March 27, and has scheduled trips twice a day between 6 am to 9 pm, Mondays to Fridays.

The six-vehicle convoy can ferry around 250 passengers in a single trip. Binay said the city will purchase four more buses to accommodate more passengers.

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