Fixed Salary For Bus Drivers Ensures Safer Transport: LTFRB

The implementation of a fixed salary scheme with performance based incentives for public utility bus drivers and conductors will ensure safe and reliable transportation to commuters, an official of the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) said Monday.

“We are steering away from the purely commission basis at kailangan part-fixed and part performance based (this must be part-fixed and part-performance based). To the bus operators: You need to give what is due to the drivers. Let us be more compassionate and considerate,” LTFRB Board Member Aileen Lizada said in a radio interview.

Lizada was reacting to a recent decision of the Supreme Court (SC) which upheld the legality of a part-fixed and part-performance based compensation scheme for bus drivers and operators.

Lizada said the commission-based or “boundary” compensation scheme for bus drivers and operators encourages “risk-taking behavior” on the roads due to lack of income security. These transport workers also experience high exposure to health hazards as a result of longer working hours.

“Ang commission is based on the number of riderships. Kaya ang mga drivers gusto nila mas maraming riders mas maraming trips. Ang nangyayari ang mga buses are no longer safe and convenient to the riders. In the long run talo rito ang mga bus drivers lalo na ang mga pasahero (The commission is based on the number of riderships. The drivers want more passengers, more trips. Thus, buses are no longer safe and convenient to the riders. In the long run, drivers are on the losing end as well as the passengers),” Lizada said.

The SC denied the petition filed by the Provincial Bus Operators Association of the Philippines, Southern Luzon Bus Operators Association, Inc., Inter City Bus Operators Association, and City of San Jose Del Monte Bus Operators Association to invalidate an order of the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) and a memorandum circular of the LTFRB on the implementation of the part-fixed and part-performance based scheme.

The LTFRB has issued Memorandum Order 2012-001 which requires bus operators to secure a Labor Standards Compliance Certificate from the DOLE. This certificate, which links labor standards compliance with franchise regulation, prevents the revocation of an existing certificate of public convenience or the denial of such a certificate application.

DOLE’s Department Order 118-112 mandates a fixed compensation scheme for bus drivers and conductors which shall not be lower than the applicable minimum wage in a region.

The performance-based aspect of the compensation will be based on the net income of the operator or bus company, alongside employee safety records covering road accidents, commission on traffic violations, and the observance of road courtesies.

In its ruling, the SC said the LTFRB and DOLE issuances were done in accordance with their quasi-legislative powers.

The High Court maintained that the issuance are “reasonable and are not violative of due process” since these are in the nature of “social legislations” intended “to enhance the economic status of bus drivers and conductors, and to promote the general welfare of the riding public.” (PNA)

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