“We’re losing badly, our income’s cut by more than a half,” says van operator

NOV 18-24, 2010

MONKAYO- An owner of one the more than 200 passengers’ vans plying the Butuan City-Monkayo-Davao City route has bared that van owners now are losing in their operations following the total disallowing of the picking up and unloading of passengers in Tagum City and lately in Panabo City.

Samuel Cajote, one of the pioneering van owners since 2001 and resident of this town, said that their income dropped by “more than a half”” from the previous months when the Tagum City’s traffic enforcers were still rather lax in flagging down and apprehending  dropping vans.

Last Saturday, Nov. 13, Panabo City government started disallowing dropping of vans in its public terminal.

The van operator said that at presstime his van which starts in this town could only manage to net P600 to P800 daily compared to the past average of P1,200-P1,400 of the more than P4,000 gross income for a round-trip travel.

He said that the route could use up about P1,200 to P1,400 worth of gasoline.

Van operators will also deduct an average of P300 and P150 for the 20-percent and 10-percent shares of the driver and conductor, respectively.

“The fares earned are also deducted of expenses for meals, terminal fees and miscellaneous expenses of the day,” Cajote said.

“And we save money for major repairs and especially for the fast replacement of costly tires… now we are ending up with panglugaw na lang nga income (a small income worth for a porridge.),” he added.

The money from fares   where the shares of conductors and drivers would be deducted are turned over and declared to the van owners “based on honesty”.

He added that most hard  up now are many van owners who are still amortizing their units to car companies and dealers.

“There are more than 100 vans under Monvoda (Monkayo Van Operators and Drivers Association) and mostly owned by Monkayo residents, and with these there are more than 100 drivers, 200 conductors who are depending on vans for their livelihood,” he said.

There are also more than 100 vans under the Tagdasab (Tagum Davao San Francisco Butuan City Van Operators and Drivers Association).

The van fare from Monkayo to Davao City is P140.

Due to losing operations, many van operators have chosen to rest or not  to ply their units as yet while the road rules are tight. Several Tagdasab vans are accordingly plying to until San Franscisco town in Agusan del Sur and back to Butuan City.

It was also learned that the Gaisano Mall in Davao City where the Monvoda has a parking area is already charging P200 per departure of each van. Monvoda used to pay P80,000 monthly rental to Gaisano Mall before.

“The Gaisano has directly taken over after the rental scheme … we are the ones getting the papers for it and had spent for the parking shed,” the van operator said.

The Tagum City’s traffic personnel have tightened the watch of the city’s highway section in implementing Land Transportation Franchising Regulatory Board’s Memorandum Circular No. 2007-007 which imposes a garage-to-terminal, point-to-point policy whereby there would be no-picking up and no unloading of passengers along the route.

Mayor Rey Uy earlier said that he is just following what is in the law.

In separate interview, Tagum City Traffic Management Unit chief Marcos Villanueva said that there would be no let up in apprehending violating vans saying, “wa ni katapusan kay mao nay balaod (there will be no end to this as this is the law).”

He said that the TCTMU’s traffic personnel authorized by the Land Transportation Office-Tagum are carrying out issuances of Temporary Operator’s Permit (TOP) to violating van drivers.

A TCTMU police auxiliary said that the city’s traffic officers and auxiliaries would flag down violating vans and the LTO-authorized traffic investigators would then issue TOPs before the apprehended vans are sent off.

He said that the city has some 40 traffic officers and auxiliaries.

Cajote though admitted that they could not do otherwise under the existing LTRFB circular admitting defeat.

He said that before their vans used to have a franchise of PU mini vans but later the LTFRB changed the classification to GTE (garage-to-terminal express).

Other sources said that the LTFRB’s circular was contested by van operators  sometime in the past but the latter lost in several cases with the LTFRB sticking to the GTE classification of passengers’ vans. (Rural Urban News/Cha Monforte)



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