The Baguio city government expressed its opposition to the implementation of the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB)’s order boosting the number of taxis to 400 units as it will aggravate the traffic problem. (PNA photo)

Baguio City – Citing the current traffic and parking problem the city is experiencing, the city council expressed its dismay over the decision of the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board’s (LTFRB) decision to grant 400 taxi franchises in the city and in the Cordillera Administrative Region

The LTFRB recently released Memorandum Circular (MC) 2019-016 which allows the “opening of additional taxi franchises for Baguio city, La Trinidad Benguet to any point in Cordillera Administrative Region and Butuan city and to any point in CARAGA region”.

Through a resolution, the city Council said the additional taxi units that will come into the city “will definitely swell the existing traffic and parking problem of the city.”

The resolution emphasized that “the existing taxi units can service our city even with the increase in population, growth in tourism, cancellation and expiration and abandonment of Certificate of Public Convenience (CPC).”

“The alleged perceived increase in the demand for taxi service in the city can never be attributed to the shortage and decrease in the number of taxi units but to the heavy traffic brought about by the voluminous number of vehicles plying the city roads, the narrow condition of the city roads and lack of sufficient parking,” the resolution read.

Mayor Benjamin Magalong also expressed his disagreement with the MC as it was issued without inputs from the local government.

“We have earlier already talked to them [LTFRB] about the 200 franchises…which they said they will look into but it is disappointing to note that even while we were talking to them, they have also approved the issuance of 200 new franchises,” he said.

Magalong also criticized the LTFRB for not considering the worsening traffic situation in the city especially during peak months when tourists flock into the city bringing their own vehicles.  “LTFRB is not the one managing the traffic in our city that is why it should be inherent on the regulatory body to first coordinate with the local government to evaluate and assess whether or not there is still need for more taxi units to ply the city’s limited routes,” he said.

Data from the LTFRB show the city has 5,215 registered public utility jeepneys, 3,246 registered taxis, 459 public utility van express and 345 buses. (Jojo Mangahis)