The Department of Transportation on Tuesday said it will lift the moratorium on the issuance of new franchises for public utility vehicles (PUVs), which has been in place since 2004, after signing the Omnibus Franchising Guidelines on Monday.
The Omnibus Franchising Guidelines will provide a new system for the issuance of PUV franchises by engaging the help of local government units (LGU), which are tasked to develop their own local public route line.
The Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) will then use these local public route plans from LGUs as a basis for approving new franchises.
"They know more on population, road networks, planning on land use, so they can come up with route plans," LTFRB Chairman Martin Delgra said.
Delgra assured commuters that lifting the moratorium on new PUV franchises will not increase traffic congestion but to a rationalization of routes that should address traffic problems.
Delgra said they will be studying three kinds of routes: 1) new routes not being serviced by PUVs; 2) overserved routes with too many franchises which may have to be lessened or reassigned to other routes; 3) and the underserved which may have existing routes but may need more due to population requirements.
The rationalization of PUV routes and franchising is also expected to address “colorum” vehicles.
Vic Balao, general manager of the National Federation of Transportation Cooperatives, said the increase in “colorum” vehicles throughout the years is a sign that there is indeed a need for more PUVs.
"Dumadami colorum because there is a need for these services. Masyado nang matagal nakasarado ang franchise. Population is increasing," Balao said.
Public transport operators have some apprehension with regards to the role of the LGUs, saying it tends to be politicized and may end up in "palakasan."
The LTFRB assured it is still them and not the LGUs, that will approve and issue the franchises.