• Transport groups set protest caravan vs high traffic fines

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    MAJOR transport groups will hound the Land Transportation Office (LTO), Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB), and the Department of Transportation and Communication (DOTC) to stop the government from imposing stiffer fines on operators of “colorum” vehicles or public utility vehicles without franchises and out-of-line public utility vehicles (PUVs).

    Several transport groups including Pagkakaisa ng mga Samahan ng Tsuper at Operator Nationwide (Piston), Alliance of Concerned Transport Operators (ACTO) and Stop and Go Coalition formed an alliance known as No To “JAO # 2014-01” in their bid to stop the imposition of higher fines and penalties for drivers of colorum vehicles, or those without franchises.

    The alliance said they will hold a transport strike and protest caravan today.

    The Joint Administrative Order (JAO) No. 2014-01 or the “Revised Schedule of Fines and Penalties for Violations of Laws, Rules and Regulations Governing Land Transportation” takes effect today.

    Under the new policy, unfranchised public utility jeeps face a fine of P50,000. Offenders on motorcycles stand to pay P6,000; sedans, P120,000; vans, P200,000; trucks, P200,000; and buses, up to P1 million.

    The operator’s certificate of public convenience and registration will also be revoked and their vehicles impounded for three months.

    Franchised PUVs that transport passengers outside their assigned routes are also considered colorum vehicles.

    Piston national president George San Mateo said they expect at least 2,000 jeeps and UV Express vans to join their caravan protest.

    He said protesting drivers will gather at around 7 a.m. at the Quezon City Memorial Circle in front of the National Housing Authority office and will troop to the LTO and LTFRB office in East Avenue at 9 a.m.
    Meanwhile, the LTFRB has issued a memorandum circular (MC) to clarify the implementation of the JAO on out of line violations and trucks for hire.

    Under the MC, the Board will first conduct a study on rationalization of authorized routes both regarding the authorized route description and number of authorized units in a particular route, LTFRB chairman Atty Winston Ginez said. For this purpose, it is temporarily suspending for 120 days the imposition of higher fines and penalties on out-of-line units.

    Ginez added that as directed by DOTC Secretary Joseph Emilio Aguinaldo Abaya, there is a need for the board to re-evaluate the current bus routes to help bus operators make the best business decisions.

    Ginez also allayed fears of bus operators with pending applications that they will not be apprehended and penalized if they can show proof of inspection validity.

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