Colorum’ vehicles major cause of traffic snarls PDF Print E-mail
Saturday, 23 January 2016 11:45

Table Talk

BY Mike S Apostol

It is an alarming information to know that hundreds of passenger vans plying the west and east coast routes, roughly only 10 percent of those utility vehicle vans,  are holders of franchises issued by the Land Transportation Franchising Regulatory Board (LTFRB), while the bulk of those vans or at least 90 percent of them are without franchises. Worst, they are freely plying the city routes unabated all these years. Complemented with colorum tricycles,and passenger jeepneys, with equally same  in number if not more than those colorum utility vans crowding our city streets everyday and freely picking up passengers anywhere in our highways and city streets. The result is a traffic nightmare during peak hours everyday. Heavy and monstrous traffic coupled with unruly and discourteous drivers are the “pain in the ass” of traffic policemen and the city’s traffic aides.This is the real problem of heavy traffic in the city and not the narrow roads or defective Traffic Laws, Regulations or City Traffic Ordinance.

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As a suggestion, it needs a three-prong approach to solve the city’s traffic problem. It must be a a strict implementation with a political will by the City Government’s Franchising Board with the assistance of the PNP traffic police and city traffic aides, the LTFRB elements to conduct inspection of their vehicle franchises and the Land Registration Office (LTO) to check and investigate their vehicle registration permits, the vehicles physical capability and safety standards (some vehicles are noted to be junks, like rolling coffins in our streets). The three-prong approach should be consistent everyday until the last sonamagan colorum vehicle complies with government traffic regulations and until our city streets and highways are unclogged with these nuisances that are now a menace.

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The west coast route for utility vehicle vans are service by three competing operators and drivers association. The Original Pioneer operators and drivers association, the Mega operators and drivers association and the Nhor operators and drivers association. These three associations have almost 200 vans combined plying the west coast and of that only barely 10 percent LTFRB franchises to operate a passenger line. The rest are illegally operating in front of the eyes of the City Government and Traffic Police, the LTFRB and the LTO. Perhaps Atty. Arthur Saipudin of the LTFRB and Atty. Aminola Abaton of LTO and perhaps Mayor Beng Climaco-Salazar, should find time to check on this alarming information that has greatly inconvenienced the city’s population.

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A piece of important information for the LTFRB and LTO agencies and for my personal friends, LTO Regional Director, Atty. Aminola Abaton and college classmate during our pre-law days LTFRB Atty. Arthur Saipudin, from Laminusa island in Sulu. Table Talk in an investigative reporting found out the real cause as to why most of the utility vehicles are “colorum” operating without a franchise. The operators and drivers association they are attached to, have permitted their entry with a hefty entrance fee from  P70,000 to P100,000 to be able to be a member of the association and enjoy the privilege of plying their assigned route. But like a “cat and mouse” game, they stop plying their route whenever the LTFRB and LTO conduct random checkpoints in our highways. Most drivers say that LTFRB and LTO checkpoints are only for two to three hours the most and after they leave they continue their illicit driving business. This is preposterous, why not make it the whole day and everyday? assign an element from their office just for this special mission?  If this can be done my friends, Atty. Saipudin and Atty. Aminola, this will be the best service your office can give to the city of Zamboanga, which you now call your home.

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Scoop: Additional information gathered reveals that most of those utility vehicle drivers are driving without driver licenses only a Temporary Operators Permit (TOP) issued by the traffic authorities, since their driving licenses have been confiscated by those authorities for various traffic violations. This is very dangerous to the riding public. It voids your accident and life insurances if something happens during your travel. Also most of those colorum vans are owned by the driver himself bought on installment basis with large monthly installments from P20,000 to P25,000 a month. This is the main reason why they drive like “kings of the road” to be able to achieve their monthly installment quota. Passenger safety must not be antagonized in favor of personal interest. Agree or disagree.