February 23, 2024

Responding to the challenges faced by students during their daily commute, Councilor Fred Bagbagen has proposed an ordinance mandating all public utility vehicles to prioritize servicing students between 6:10 and 6:55 a.m. during school days from their respective barangays to the central business district.

Recognizing the impact of transportation on students’ academic performance, Bagbagen said there should be a more student-friendly transport system in the city.

Once approved, the measure will be called the “45-Minute Student Lane” ordinance, which aims to alleviate the perennial problem of students enduring hours of waiting and navigating through traffic congestion during their morning commute caused by traffic congestion and an “inefficient and un-integrated public transport network.”

Under the proposed ordinance, all PUVs operating within the city are mandated to prioritize students from preschool to senior high during school days within the time frame of 6:10 to 6:55 a.m. In cases where a student requires accompaniment, only one parent or guardian will be allowed.

The Land Transportation Office and the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board will be the implementing bodies for the proposed ordinance, responsible for conducting inspections to ensure compliance.

The LTO and LTFRB shall also deputize barangay officials to help enforce the ordinance.

Moreover, all PUVs will be required to inform the riding public about the ordinance by displaying signage indicating the “45-Minute Student Lane.”

Non-compliant PUVs will be given corresponding penalties. For the first offense, a fine of P3,000 will be imposed accompanied by a reprimand and an initial notice of violation. For the second offense, the penalty escalates to a fine of P4,000, suspension, and issuance of a final notice of violation.

For the third offense, a more severe penalty of a P5,000 fine, suspension, and/or revocation of the franchise will be enforced.

The proposed ordinance has been approved on first reading and referred to the city council committee on public utilities, transportation, and traffic legislation for review. – Jordan G. Habbiling