Starting this month, the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) will no longer be allowing school service vehicles aged 15 years and older to operate.
To recall, the LTFRB last year issued memorandum circular (MC) allowing school bus services aged 15 years and up to operate until March 31 only.
LTFRB Chairman Winston Ginez said that there was a need for a 10-month transition period to assure the availability of school service for next school year.
He said that based on the board’s evaluation, many school buses services set to be phased out in 2015 may affect students going to school.
Under the MC, operators of school services vehicles, upon filing their confirmation, will be required to submit an Affidavit of Undertaking to Substitute their units that reached the age limit of 15 years before the opening of SY 2016-2017.
The MC also directs school authorities not to accredit and/or allow the operation of school transport service units that are more than 15 years old beginning SY 2016- 2017.
“We wanted to start phasing out 15-year-old school service vehicles much earlier, but decided to give operators a transition period,” Ginez said, noting that the phase-out was supposed to take place as early as 2014 then moved to 2015 and 2016.
“They (operators) promised that after a year they will comply. The Board’s decision is final and it won’t change,” he added.
School service inspection
LTFRB has also began checking the road-worthiness of school service vehicles in various schools in Metro Manila in preparation for the upcoming opening of classes.
To date, LTFRB has found only minimal issues similar to last year’s issues such as the lack of seat belts and fire extinguishers, heavily tinted windows and balding tires.
The Board has already ordered these issues corrected.
Meanwhile, LTFRB board member Atty. Ariel Inton also urged parents to assure that their children are transported by school service vehicles that are legitimate franchise holders.
”I urge parents to check before enrolling their children in a school service vehicle, to make sure the operator is a franchise holder,” Inton said.
He also urged parents to refrain from allowing their students to be transported by tricycles that tend to accept more passengers than what the number able to fit and be seated comfortably.
”This happens mostly to public school children. I hope parents who want to save from spending on fare learn to be more aware of the safety of their children,” he added.
Since the Board does not have the mandate to operate tricycles, Inton urged the local government units (LGUs) who give tricycles permits to operate, to be stricter in implementing transport ordinances.
”Local government units should be strict in implementing ordinances not to allow overloading of students in tricycles,” he said. (PNA)