LTFRB Approves hybrid bus franchise

Manila, Philippines --- The Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) has approved the novel operation of hybrid-electric buses in Makati City despite a long-standing moratorium on public utility vehicle (PUV) franchise issuance.

In a decision dated April 17, 2013, LTFRB Board Members Engr. Ronaldo Corpus and Atty. Al Parreño granted the application of Green Frog ZE Transport Corporation for a certificate of public convenience (CPC) to operate 15 units of hybrid-electric buses from Tramo corner Buendia Avenue to Kalayaan corner C5 road.

In the decision, Corpus and Parreño said that ''notwithstanding (the publication of the application in a national daily), no one filed any written opposition nor appeared at the hearing to controvert the application. Hence, said application is considered uncontested.''

The LTFRB however clarified that the CPC issued to Green Frog ZE Transport Corporation to operate hybrid-electric buses in Makati City will only be valid for five years.

''Only electric and hybrid electric units will be used on this franchise. Likewise, the LTFRB can order the operator to allow the inspection or audit of the said units by the agency,'' the decision further reads.

The existing moratorium against issuance of new public utility vehicle franchise was issued by the Department of Transportation and Communication (DoTC) to the LTFRB since the time of former Secretary Jose de Jesus.

The moratorium covers public utility jeepneys, buses, taxis, and express service vehicles but exempts trucks for hire, school service vehicles and units using alternative fuel or energy.

In an interview, Corpus said the DoTC has knowledge of the application and eventual granting of CPC for the hybrid-electric bus operation.

''(In fact), the DoTC has issued the route-measured capacity (RMC) for this particular route,'' he said.

The RMC is DoTC's certification of the public needs for transportation in specific routes. It assesses the ratio of commuters to the available PUVs plying the route and recommends for new franchise issuances with increasing public demand and the capacity of the route to accommodate increase vehicular volume.