Transport and Traffic Management Office (CTTMO) head Dionisio Abude
DAVAO- A random photo on a Facebook page directed at Catalunan Grande public utility jeep (PUJ) operators and drivers opposing the Peak Hours Augmentation Bus Service (PHABS) created a stir after it was posted Monday.
Posted at Public Information and Inquiry Page by a certain Jenny Jane Medija on Monday, March 4, the photo showed several leaflets scattered on the streets of Barangay Catalunan Grande by anonymous groups or individuals that has a message written in the vernacular.
The message read: “Sa mga operator ug driver sa jeep, testingi ninyo ug hilabot ang mga bus kay mubalos mi! Kini nga mensahe nag gikan sa katawhan sa Catalunan Grande nga di ninyo kaya serbisyohan sa inyong mga delikado nga jeep. (To the jeep operators and drivers (of Catalunan Grande), don’t you dare harm the buses for we will fight back! This message is from the people of Catalunan Grande which you failed to serve through your unsafe jeep).”
The post amassed ‘likes’ from netisens, mostly from affected barangays, who sympathize with those supporting the PHABS.
City Transport and Traffic Management Office (CTTMO) head Dionisio Abude, in a phone interview with Edge Davao on Wednesday, said people behind the leaflets circulation might be really residents of Catalunan Grande.
“Personal opinion lang nako ni ha, pero tan-aw nako ang mga residente ang nagbuhat ani kay siguro nakita nila ang tabang nga nahatag sa bus augmentation,” Abude said.
Abude, however, clarified that no resentments nor negative reactions were raised by operators and drivers during the recent consultation.
“Wala man, walay nag oppose ato kay dili man mi maka recommend sa LTFRB kung naay mag reklamo ani,” said Abude.
Before PHABS was implemented, residents of Catalunan Grande endured long queues at the jeepney terminal during peak hours.
Under the PHABS, three city buses are currently operating in Catalunan Grande. Another three buses, said Abude, will be added as soon as the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) approves the provincial buses to operate.
The lack of city buses, according to Abude, has limited the potential of the bus augmentation, prompting the City Government of Davao to request LTFRB to issue permits for provincial buses.
Catalunan Grande and Toril District commuters were the main beneficiaries of PHABS which will also soon penetrate in barangays Mintal, Cabantian and Sasa.
On Tuesday, March 5, CTTMO conducted a consultation with jeepney operators and barangay officials, in connection with the additional bus augmentation service for Mintal, Cabantian, and Sasa.
“We have to consult residents of the affected areas before we implement the additional Peak Hours Augmentation Bus Service (PHABS) for Mintal, Cabantian and Sasa,” said Abude.
CTTMO has recommended at least four bus units to serve each route.
The government agency held the consultations after it received proposals for the inclusion of Mintal, Cabantian, and Sasa in the PHABS, as passengers in these areas are also reportedly confronted with the same situation as those in Toril and Catalunan Grande.
Abude said the consultations with the affected sectors, including transport groups and associations, are being conducted, pending the approval by LTFRB for the additional routes.
“The Sasa Route will hopefully be added to address the concern of passengers waiting at points of convergence during peak hours,” he said.
Abude said the proposal to add the Sasa Route was based on the observed influx of passengers from the Island Garden City of Samal (IGACOS) during the morning peak hours as they go to the downtown areas for work, school, and other concerns.
A study showed that 52.85 percent or 148 out of 280 passengers travel between the downtown areas and Sasa during the afternoon peak hours.
Once approved, the Sasa PHABS Route will serve those from Sasa via Lanang, JP Laurel Avenue, turn right to Quirino Avenue, then turn right to Tionko St., and vice versa). The route will be served from 6:30 am to 9:00 am and from 5:00 pm to 8:00 pm.
The practice of passenger buses servicing barangay routes is not new in Davao City. Dacoville Subdivision in barangay Dumoy started with about 10 bus units in the 80’s. This was followed by other subdivisions in other parts of the city. Annil Transportation Company launched several buses in Catalunan Grande and Sasa.
At least two bus units of Annil were hijacked by suspected communist rebels who burned the vehicles after the passengers were ordered to disembark.
After a decade, the bus operation to subdivisions, mostly operated by homeowner associations, ceased to operate for lack of demand. (EDGE MIN with reports from CIO)