The Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) on Thursday cancelled the franchise of Southern Carrier Company Inc. (SCCI) after discovering that the bus firm has been operating with an expired franchise since 2008. The LTFRB said SCCI's franchise to operate 23 buses plying the Batangas-Manila route had expired in August 2008 but the? transport firm was able to continue operation because of its pending application for extension of franchise. LTFRB chairman Atty Winston Ginez said SCCI is not considered operating as colorum despite having an expired franchise under the agency's existing rules and regulations. "Under our existing rules, a bus firm is still authorized to operate its franchise if it has a pending application for extension of validity filed before its franchise expires," he said. Although the accident along South Luzon Expressway last Monday is the first accident in SCCI's history, Ginez said the LTFRB decided to revoke the Batangas-Manila franchise after concluding that the bus firm has been abusing the rules as a legal scapegoat to continue operation. "Our direction is to revoke this policy but we have to resolve first the pending applications before adopting a major policy shift," he said. "Under our new policy, ?operators cannot ply their routes anymore if the extension of their franchise validity is not granted before the expiration date," Ginez added. The official also said operators will be required to file their application for extension of franchise validity at least six months before the franchise's expiration and the LTFRB will resolve the application within a six-month period or just before the franchise's expiry date. Following the LTFRB's decision, ?the SCCI will? be required to surrender the yellow plates of its 23 buses and cease from operating the Batangas-Manila route. SCCI, however, is still authorized to operate 30 bus units for the Caticlan-Cubao route.
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