June 21, 2024

The City Engineering Office presented to the members of Baguio City Council the recommendations of their office regarding the city’s Local Public Transport Route Plan (LPTRP) during the city council’s regular session on April 8. 

Among the recommendations was the urgent need for the approval of the LPTRP by the city council. The proposed ordinance adopting the LPTRP has been under review by the committee on public utilities, transportation, and traffic legislation since 2021.

Engr. Thea Mabiasen of the CEO said the LPTRP was formulated by analyzing the city’s existing routes, which initially numbered 169 but had since been consolidated to 33 operational routes with an additional two developmental routes.

The LPTRP is a comprehensive document that outlines the network of routes, the modes of transportation to be used, and the specific quantity of units required per mode to effectively deliver land transport services. These details serve as the minimum criteria for the issuance of franchises.

In compliance with an administrative order issued in 2018, the city’s LPTRP was designed to balance the supply of transportation services with passenger demand. It aims to make sure there are enough vehicles on the right routes to meet people’s needs. This includes figuring out which types of vehicles are best for different roads based on passenger usage and the layout and characteristics of the roads. 

The LPTRP was first drafted in November 2019 with the first submission made in May 2021. After several stages of review and a series of public consultations, the final approved draft was achieved on May 17, 2023. 

It received official approval from the Department of Transportation on Sept. 19, 2023, and a resolution on Nov. 30, 2023 issued by the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board. The LPTRP was finally awarded the notice of compliance (NOC) on Dec. 19, 2023, marking its readiness for implementation.

The CEO also recommended the establishment of dedicated lanes for public utility jeeps to ensure their timely access to the central business district and other service areas even during periods of heavy traffic congestion.

The CEO also proposed allotting a budget each year to enhance public transport stops and dedicated lanes. This budget would cover improvements such as waiting sheds and other amenities that enhance the comfort and convenience of passengers using public transportation.

Another recommendation was to facilitate the development of PUJ terminals. Mabiasen said currently, terminals are situated along the streets, causing inconvenience to commuters. The aim is to alleviate congestion and streamline the commuting experience. 

The office also recommended the shift from private to public modes of transportation and encouraging active mobility. Mabiasen said to make this possible, the transport sector should align with the demands of the government for the provision of public transport services.

The recommendation also included encouraging unconsolidated transport units to join consolidated transport service enterprises (CTSEs) that cover their respective routes in compliance with the mandates set forth by the LTFRB.

Lastly, the CEO recommended the implementation of a fleet management system to enhance the efficiency of public transport services in Baguio City.

During the council session, Councilor Betty Lourdes Tabanda pointed out discrepancies in the published version of the LPTRP, particularly concerning destinations like Bayan Park. Mabiasen acknowledged the discrepancy and noted that the published version had been revised after the public consultations.

Councilor Mylen Victoria Yaranon also raised concerns about the expertise involved in crafting the LPTRP. She stressed the need for detailed planning and suggested consulting an expert to review the plan thoroughly.

Councilor Benny Bomogao explained the LPTRP is the blueprint for consolidating jeepney routes within the city. He said due to the semi-permanent nature of staging or loading areas in the city, they cannot be specified in the LPTRP and that the Traffic and Transportation management Division continuously studies where the jeepneys can be stationed for efficient travel to their destination and within the CBD.

The LPTRP also indicates the number of units needed to serve each route and identifies the areas serviced by these routes, Bomogao added. 

Vice Mayor Faustino Olowan suggested suspending the discussion until the revised and final copy was available to ensure accurate deliberation and approval. – Jordan G. Habbiling