Small operators oppose SM bus system venture
Some transport operators are opposing plans to operate a new modern bus line for the soon-to-open Seaside City mall in the South Road Properties (SRP).
Aside from the competition a new player poses for other public utility vehicles, the additional buses will increase traffic congestion, they said.
“These buses are nice to ride but the roads are very narrow and these buses are expected to be big. We still have the problem of traffic. This may worsen traffic,” said Ryan Yu, chairman of the Cebu Integrated Transport Cooperative (Citrasco) in yesterday’s 888 News Forum.
He said several transport groups will present a petition against the “high quality public transport system (HQPTS)” to be operated by a consortium of SM Prime Holdings Inc. and Jam Liner Inc.
A public hearing for the new bus scheme is set on Oct. 16 by the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB). Their objections will have to do with routes, the number of buses and the traffic impact.
The SM Prime Holdings Inc.-Jam Liner Inc. consortium will bring in 77 new hybrid Wi-fi-ready buses to operate in four routes.
The buses wil ferry passengers in routes from the North Bus Terminal to Mambaling, to Talisay City, and the Mactan Cebu International Airport thorugh the SRP and Natalio Bacalso Avenue.
Julio Flores, president of the Cebu South Mini-Bus Operators’ Association, said the new bus service and routes would definitely affect small public utility vehicle (PUV) operators in Cebu and could drive them out of business.
They also cited a 2012 moratorium on new franchises issued by then Transportation Secretary Mar Roxas which requires LTFRB to make studies on public demand for new vehicles in routes before issuing franchises to applicants.
Last Sept. 23, the Cebu City Council authorized Mayor Michael Rama to sign a memorandum of agreement with SM Prime subsidiary Premier Southern Corp. to build eight bus stations and operate the new hybrid bus system. The target date for this is December this year, said City Councilor Nestor Archival. The city government will help facilitate documents for the project.
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