Define ‘roadworthy’, LTFRB

THE Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) has to define ‘roadworthy’ in its recent order bringing traditional jeepneys back in Metro Manila’s thoroughfares.

Transport authorities have been using that word  since they floated the possibility of jeepneys returning to public service.

However, they never clarified what roadworthy really meant even until yesterday when the highly-favored public utility vehicles were finally allowed to hit the roads.

I’m asking for the exact definition because absence of which might provide room for confusion, misunderstanding, delay and even corruption in qualifying jeepneys.

The jeepneys have been grounded for a long time so the LTFRB and the Land Transportation Office (LTO) should be clear, fair, honest and prompt in providing permits for their redeployment.

Many families suffered a lot as a result of the ban on jeepneys. Our transport agencies can help them recover by rationalizing issuance of permits.

Recently, only jeepneys deemed roadworthy by transport authorities and compliant to health and security protocols were allowed to operate in selected routes.

Of the 55,000 total number of jeepneys, the policy will benefit a little more than 6,000, the LTFRB said.

Transport authorities should increase the number of jeepneys allowed as soon as possible to save more families from the crisis and to speed up reopening of economy.

Indeed, without any scientific findings to show that jeepneys are hazardous to public health amid the pandemic, more of them  should be brought back to service without delay to boost efforts in restoring livelihood and hastening economic recovery.

Meanwhile, the Land Transportation Office (LTO) should continue to waive penalties for late registration of vehicles.

This is to help vehicle owners cope with lingering financial difficulties brought by the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID 19) pandemic.

Penalizing motorists including owners of public utility vehicles during the crisis is an inconsiderate gesture from a government agency supposed to serve and help motorists.

Many are still not able to register their vehicles on time because of the quarantine. Even when restrictions were eased last month, registration was still a big challenge for vehicle owners because of the surge in applications,” Castelo said.

I understand that LTO has already given two months for late registrations before they can be penalized, but that is not enough time considering the sheer volume of applications that LTO receives each day. Queues at the smoke emission test alone can take more than a week.

LTO should make the registration process seamless or at least bring it back to its pre-outbreak fashion  first before imposing penalties on late registration. A friendlier policy on the matter is what motorists need.

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