Other bus firms may take over GV Florida's routes

By Charlie Lagasca and Raymund Catindig, The Philippine Star

Posted at Mar 23 2014 10:01 AM | Updated as of Mar 23 2014 06:01 PM

BAYOMBONG, Nueva Vizcaya, Philippines – Special permits will be issued to other bus firms to temporarily take the routes left vacant with the suspension of the franchise of the GV Florida Transport, the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) said over the weekend.

The Tuguegarao-based LTFRB regional office said its central office is preparing guidelines for the issuance of special permits to other bus companies to augment bus shortage plying the Cagayan Valley-Manila route.

This, it said, was in response to complaints of commuters over the lack of buses following the suspension of the operations of GV Florida after one of its units figured in a fatal accident in Bontoc, Mt. Province on Feb. 7.

The 30-day suspension order on GV Florida has already lapsed but the LTFRB imposed another six months suspension after it found out that the bus that figured in the Bontoc crash was operating illegally.

“The bus company has committed blatant multiple violations that we cannot just tolerate because it puts the peoples’ lives in danger,” said LTFRB chairman Winston Ginez.

The Cagayan Valley-based GV Florida, the biggest bus company in the region with more than 200 units, is also operating in the Ilocos and Cordillera regions.

The inadequacy of buses in the region since the suspension of GV Florida is now taking its toll on local commuters.

Commuters said even in bus terminals in Tuguegarao where buses usually originate were already fully booked. They said other waiting commuters from Isabela and this province are having difficulty in taking a ride.

Businessman John Reniedo of Ilagan City in Isabela said many small vans are taking advantage of the situation by making fly-by-night trips to Manila, charging passengers with exorbitant fares from the usual regulated fare rates.

“These vans are mostly colorum and are traveling during night to avoid getting caught,” he said.