LA TRINIDAD, Benguet (Sept. 27) — The proposed ban of public utility jeepneys (PUJ) of neighboring towns from plying Baguio City’s central business district (CBD) gained criticism from commuters and transport groups.
Proposed Amendatory Ordinance 7-84 or the Comprehensive Traffic and Transportation Ordinance introduced by Baguio Councilor Rocky Thomas Balisong, chair of the committee on public utilities, seeks to prohibit PUJs of nearby towns from entering the CBD as part of the city’s measures to ease traffic congestion.
However, affected commuters and transport groups assert that the city should consider the disadvantage the proposed measure would bring down on them.
In a petition, the Agoo-Baguio Jeepney Operators Drivers Association (ABJODA) and Baguio-Taloy-Palina Jeepney Operators Drivers Association (BTPJODA) said that while the city is creating measures to ease the growing traffic problem at the CBD it should also consider the plight of residents from neighboring towns commuting daily for educational, work and other social purposes. “They too are imperative contributory to the economic development of the city,” the petition read.
The proposed unloading and loading area for PUVs coming from Tuba, La Union and other PUVs passing through Kennon Road and Marcos Highway is at the Baguio General Hospital rotunda.
The Tuba Municipal Employees Association (TMEA) in a separate petition said the proposed ordinance would hurt them economically. The group explained that most of Tuba municipal employees travel from the various municipalities of the BLIST (Baguio-La Trinidad-Itogon-Sablan-Tuba) area and the proposed transfer of terminal of Tuba PUVs from Chugum Street, Baguio City to the BGH rotunda would mean additional transportation expenses, an additional financial burden to Tuba employees.
ABJODA and BTPJODA added that the proposed transfer of terminal of all jeepneys passing through Marcos Highway and Kennon Road would cause traffic congestion at the BGH rotunda. “The intended area is not enough to accommodate the hassles of transferring loads and baggages of many PUJs arriving at the area at the same time,” the groups explained.
Earlier, the Baguio-Loacan Jeepney Operators Drivers Association (BLJODA) already expressed opposition to the said proposal due the inconvenience it would cause the riding public.
TMEA added that the proposal would extend employee’s travel time, which would affect their productivity “to the detriment of public service”.
Moreover, commuters from Poblacion, Tuba in another petition said that the proposal is not the answer to the city’s traffic problem instead, they blamed the increasing number of taxicabs and “the non-stop passenger-searching of some commonly seen PUJs”. They agreed that it would mean additional economic burden to commuters.
In their petition, Poblacion commuters said Tuba farmers would suffer more losses as their crops would be damaged due to additional jeepney transfers; thus they would be burdened with additional fares. They added that commuters especially students who comes home at night would be at risk with the two-to-three-ride route.
The abovementioned petitions were submitted to the Benguet provincial board. The committee on public utilities of the provincial board is still studying the said petitions. # Kim Quitasol for NORDIS