I am one of those millions of bus commuters in Metro Manila who in many ways were victimized by abusive drivers and conductors.
* Late at work. Not due to heavy traffic but because some drivers move their buses slower than a turtle in a hope to get more passengers or rather overload their vehicles. Dela Rosa Transit air conditioned bus and BOTSC bus always do.
* Amnesia. Some bus conductors will intentionally forget to give your fare change. And when it also skip your mind, sorry, it’s there bonus! What a dishonesty!
* No refund. Since when the no refund policy was implemented? In one incident, Don Mariano Transit with plate number UVC 875 and body number 863 halted his trip due to a mechanical problem. They asked passengers to be transferred to their another unit. However, it was rush hour and most buses are full. When I demanded a fare refund, the conductor refused because he claimed that they are not allowed to do so. I insisted, pointing him to my little daughter who I need to bring to the hospital as soon as possible.
* Recycling tickets. I always thought that only some passengers would present used tickets to the bus conductor to avoid paying their fare. I was wrong. Because I experienced in the Pascual Liner bus with plate number NYV 847 and body number 2014 that the conductor gave me a used ticket when I pay for my fare. I am very sure it was a used ticket because I saw him picked it up from somewhere inside the bus, read the amount then later on gave it to me. I also saw him picked more tickets then put it on his body bag. Cheater!
* Hold-up and snatching. How many incidents of hold-up and snatching inside the moving bus recorded everyday? Police statistics said it’s 5 to 6 nationwide. But what about those that are not recorded? Imagine more cases.
Worst among those enumerated is the fact that most buses are always involved in accidents. Simply because they are over speeding and race against each other in the narrow highways just to get first the passengers to meet daily “boundary” and receive higher commissions.
The government had already ordered to provide fix salary for drivers and conductors, but only less than 30% complied. The bus operators/owners only have until July this year to fully comply with the directive of the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) and Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE), otherwise they will lose their franchise to operate.
The fixed component of the scheme includes benefits such as overtime pay, premium and holiday pay, as well as social security benefits and retirement benefits. The amount of the fixed pay will be agreed upon between the operators and the drivers and conductors.
On the other hand, the performance-based component of the scheme is based on the bus operator’s business performance, and the driver’s safety performance, such as, accident record and road traffic offenses like over-speeding.
Also, drivers and conductors should not be made to work more than eight hours daily to ensure that they are well-rested while on the job. Also, bus driver’s salaries should also be above minimum wage and be entitled to a 13th-month bonus, night differential pay, rest day, holiday as well as birthday and service leave pay.
I really doubt that this new policy will have an overall positive result. In some ways, it would lessen accidents but not the other forms of abuses by drivers and conductors like cheating.