LTFRB reopens franchise applications for buses to curb shortage

After more than a decade, the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) will soon start accepting bus franchise applications to address a nationwide shortage of public utility buses (PUBs).

Through Memorandum Circular (MC) No. 2018-014 dated May 31, 2018, the LTFRB lifted the suspension on franchise applications for PUBs. The MC covers only regular, air-conditioned and P2P buses.

Starting on June 17, all certificates of public convenience (CPCs) considered expired or abandoned as of December 2012 will be declared canceled and open for appropriation.

No definite number available

LTFRB board member Aileen Lizada did not give an exact number of the CPCs up for appropriation, saying only that it could reach “up to thousands [of bus units].”

However, she clarified that no new franchise would be issued, explaining that “these are just existing franchises that have been issued by the board since 2003.”

“The question is: Are those units we gave a franchise to in 2003 still operating? The others may be a total wreck, or with unconfirmed or expired franchises. This is why we are seeing a shortage [of bus units] … and long lines at bus terminals,” Lizada said.

According to the MC, “a CPC is considered abandoned when the CPC holder fails to confirm the franchise prior to the registration of the unit/s with the Land Transportation Office for two consecutive years, which shall result [in the] cancellation of franchise.”

Lizada said franchise holders with unconfirmed or expired CPCs would no longer be allowed to participate.


She reiterated that to be considered, the buses must have free Wi-Fi, security cameras, an automated fare collection system, speed limiter and a dashboard camera, among other requirements.

Lizada said this was the first time the LTFRB opened the application for CPCs nationwide. “We are doing it for the first time because we could see the shortage [in buses] and we need to help the commuters.”

On Dec. 29, 2000, the LTFRB issued an MC suspending the acceptance of CPC applications for all public utility vehicles. Since then, the moratorium has been lifted partially only in 2010. To accommodate passengers during peak season, the agency issues special permits to operate to buses.

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