Shuttles for workers impounded for 'lack of contract' amid transportation shortage

Shuttles for workers impounded for 'lack of contract' amid transportation shortage
Long lines of commuters can be seen at the EDSA-Quezon Avenue bus stop and MRT GMA-Kamuning station on Monday morning, a day after the highest single-day record of new COVID-19 cases.
The STAR / Michael Varcas

MANILA, Philippines — Despite the limited availablity of mass transportation, private shuttles servicing office workers were apprehended and impounded on Monday morning after authorities found that they did not have notarized documents supporting their use to transport employees.

In a Facebook post on Monday morning, the Inter-Agency Council for Traffic reported "three private vans apprehended as colorum in the area of Pasong Tamo Ext., Gate 3 - Makati City."

Photos accompanying the post showed the workers alighting their vehicles at the command of the council's traffic enforcement personnel.

"Said vehicles were found to be private vehicles being used as a company shuttle for its employees, but did not have the relevant and valid documents to legitimately operate as such," the council wrote. 

"All three vehicles were impounded accordingly to be turned over under the jurisdiction of the LTFRB."

The IACT is composed of local governments under the Metro Manila Council, the Armed Forces of the Philippines, the transportation department, the Metro Manila Development Authority, the Land Transportation Office, the LTFRB, the Philippine National Police Highway Patrol Group, and the Liga ng mga Barangay ng Pilipinas. 

Memorandum Cirular 2019-003 by the LTFRB reads:

  • Private vehicles must be covered by a long-term lease contract of not less than three (3) years between the lessee and the car rental company/owner 
  • The vehicle must be exclusively used and driven by the lessee or his/her authorized representative  

Transportation officials have given the green light for some 6,002 traditional public utility jeepney units to ply 42 routes although the bulk of jeepney drivers remain sidelined.

Existing transportation woes are expected to worsen in the coming days after transport officials disclosed that it would be deploying fewer MRT-3 trains starting Monday after 59 more  personnel tested positive for the coronavirus, bringing the total number of infected railway workers to 186.

RELATED: Familiar transportation woes as Metro Manila lurches to 'new normal'

In the absence of mass transportation at the onset of the general community quarantine, Malacañang said: "We also reiterate our appeal to the private sector to provide shuttle services to their employees. What the Administration is doing is balancing the need to revitalize the economy so that we can have livelihood and jobs while looking out for and protecting the health and safety of the public as well."

The health department on Sunday evening recorded its largest single-day leap with 2,434 new patients of the virus, bringing the number of confirmed cases in the country to 44,254. — Franco Luna with a report from Bella Perez-Rubio





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