South­bound PUJ driv­ers de­cry im­pact of new traf­fic scheme

Sun Star Bacolod - - Front Page - BY MERLINDA A. PEDROSA

ABOUT 50 driv­ers of south­bound pub­lic util­ity jeep­ney (PUJ) in Ba­colod City tem­po­rar­ily stopped their trips for more than two hours yes­ter­day and held their protest at the Pope John Paul II Tower on the im­ple­men­ta­tion of the 45 to 60 days traf­fic ex­per­i­ment of the Ba­colod Traf­fic Au­thor­ity Of­fice (BTAO).

Wil­fredo Canon­i­cato , pres­i­dent of Sum-ag, Pta. Tay­tay Driv­ers As­so­ci­a­tion, said they tem­po­rar­ily stopped their trips be­cause they want to dis­cuss their prob­lem on the im­ple­men­ta­tion of the new traf­fic ex­per­i­ment with the city of­fi­cials and BTAO.

“Since the traf­fic ex­per­i­ment was im­ple­mented on Tues­day, most of our driv­ers ply­ing Sum-ag, Pta. Tay­tay, Sing­cang-air­port, Tan­gub, and Mag­sun­gay were ar­rested for com­mit­ting some vi­o­la­tions,” he said.

He added that based on the traf­fic ex­per­i­ment, they are not al­lowed to pick up pas­sen­gers along Ba­colod pub­lic plaza and SM mall which was not dis­cussed dur­ing the meet­ing.

Canon­i­cato noted that since the traf­fic ex­per­i­ment was im­ple­mented they were not earn­ing be­cause of the long dis­tance and few pas­sen­gers along Ba­colod Ven­dors Plaza.

The City Coun­cil ear­lier ap­proved a res­o­lu­tion for the im­ple­men­ta­tion of the 45 to 60 days traf­fic ex­per­i­men­tal

rerout­ing of PUJS ply­ing Sum-ag, Pta. Tay­tay, Tan­gub, Sing­cang-air­port, and Mag­sun­gay-cen­tral Mar­ket.

Un­der the traf­fic ex­per­i­ment scheme, the south­bound PUJS from Araneta Street will take a right turn to Gon­zaga Street, then take a left turn to Ga­tus­lao Street go­ing to South Capi­tol Road and Ven­dors Plaza or the ter­mi­nal.

BTAO im­ple­mented the traf­fic ex­per­i­ment to ad­dress the traf­fic con­ges­tion along San Se­bas­tian Cathe­dral, as well as the prob­lem of the side­walk ven­dors that were trans­ferred to the Ven­dors Plaza.

Canon­i­cato said they are only ap­peal­ing to BTAO to al­low them to pick up pas­sen­gers along pub­lic plaza and SM mall.

“We al­ready agreed to fol­low the rerout­ing, but BTAO should also al­low us to pick up pas­sen­gers along pub­lic plaza and SM mall. Hope­fully, they should lis­ten to us,” he said.

Canon­i­cato added that some of the traf­fic en­forcers were also yelling at them if they com­mit­ted a vi­o­la­tion.

El­iz­a­beth Katal­bas, Fed­er­a­tion of Ba­colod City Driver’s As­so­ci­a­tion (Fe­bacda) pres­i­dent, said she sup­ported the sen­ti­ments of the driv­ers be­cause of the mas­sive ap­pre­hen­sion of BTAO.

She said they will wait for the de­ci­sion of BTAO and they are hope­ful that it will be re­solved soon.

Coun­cilor Dindo Ramos, chair­per­son of the City Coun­cil com­mit­tee on trans­porta­tion, also went to the area yes­ter­day and held a di­a­logue with the driv­ers.

Ramos said the driv­ers started to stop their trips from 9 a.m un­til 11 a.m. to air their con­cerns re­gard­ing the im­ple­men­ta­tion of new rerout­ing scheme.

He said the south­bound driv­ers were also sup­port­ing the ter­mi­nals at Ven­dors Plaza, but they were only ask­ing the BTAO to al­low them to pick up pas­sen­gers along pub­lic plaza and SM mall, to give them suf­fi­cient time to ad­just, and not to ar­rest them.

“But, if there’s no ap­pre­hen­sion how can we dis­ci­pline them? They should co­op­er­ate with us be­cause we want to pro­tect the in­ter­est of ev­ery­body here not only the in­ter­est of the driv­ers but also the in­ter­est of the ven­dors, com­muters and the gen­eral pub­lic as re­gards the traf­fic,” he added.

Af­ter the di­a­logue, the driv­ers re­sumed their trips and agreed to fol­low the new traf­fic ex­per­i­ment scheme.

For his part, Po­lice Lieu­tenant Colonel Luisito Ace­buche, head of BTAO, said that be­fore the im­ple­men­ta­tion of the traf­fic exwhich per­i­ment, they held a com­mit­tee hear­ing with the south­bound driver’s as­so­ci­a­tions.

“In the first day of the im­ple­men­ta­tion of the traf­fic ex­per­i­ment, most of the driv­ers were not com­ply­ing with traf­fic ex­per­i­ment so in the sec­ond day, we strictly im­ple­mented it and we ar­rested about 20 erring driv­ers. They were com­plain­ing be­cause some of them also failed to at­tend the di­a­logue and the com­mit­tee hear­ing. When we in­ten­si­fied our op­er­a­tions, the driv­ers were forced to use the ter­mi­nal at the Ven­dors Plaza,” he said.

Ace­buche also held a meet­ing with the driver’s as­so­ci­a­tion yes­ter­day, but only the op­er­a­tors of jeep­ney ply­ing Sing­cang-air­port, Mag­sun­gay, and Tan­gub. The op­er­a­tors of jeep­ney ply­ing Sum-ag and Pta. Tay­tay failed to show up.

“We come up with our win-win so­lu­tion that the Ven­dors Plaza will be the point of des­ti­na­tion of the south­bound PUJS, and we will al­low them to pick up pas­sen­gers along pub­lic plaza and SM mall,” Ace­buche said.

He said the en­forcers will con­tinue to ar­rest the erring driv­ers so they should fol­low the traf­fic ex­per­i­ment to en­sure the smooth flow of traf­fic.

For the mis­be­haved en­forcers, Ace­buche urged the driv­ers to re­port it to BTAO.

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