Transport providers worried over DOT policy on tourist cars, buses

IMG_2546Some Cebu businessmen voiced concern over a government policy that requires them to acquire brand new tourist buses and cars upon renewal of their franchises.

Enrique Abellana, owner of LE Tours, said the Department of Tourism (DOT) memorandum could “phase them out of the equation” because of low return of investment.

Abellana noted that Cebu had fewer tourists compared to other metropolitan areas. He admitted the downtrend of tourist arrivals in Cebu at the start of the year.

Normally, he said, the looming Chinese New Year used to be a peak season for them, but not this year.

“Last four years ago, grabe kapuno, hurot na nang trak nimo. Karon wala, nangatulog mi,” Abellana said in a meeting with Governor Hilario P. Davide III on Tuesday, January 28.

Alan Salmero, owner of Alamo Transport and president of the Tourist Transportation Group said raising the tariff to pick up their investment would not be a good option either.

He said it is even costlier for Cebu’s tourism sector that already suffered as other countries offer lower rates of travel package.

Salmero also questioned the new policy of the processing of renewal of franchises, which was made longer. Before, the processing is done in the regional level.

Now, instead of DOT 7 submitting the documents to Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board 7, they will have to submit it to the Department of Transportation and Communication in Manila.

The required lifespan of tourist buses and coasters used to be at 15 years and 10 years for cars. But altogether it was reduced to five years with the new policy. Salmero disagreed with this policy saying that tourist vehicles are not like taxis, which are used every day.

Salmero said they already wrote a petition to the concerned agencies last year but they have not yet received a concrete answer.

The governor asked for a copy of their petition. He also asked if there are transport groups, who have filed a petition in court to stop the implementation of the said memorandum circular.

Salmero said none. He added that as much as possible they don’t want to engage in a squabble with the DOT and DOTC. But they claimed that other transport providers have the same sentiment. Xerxes Alkuino