While it is true that there are a lot of exciting destinations in the Philippines, getting to these places isn’t always as fun as it sounds or looks on your friends’ Instagram feed. There are times when tourists need to jostle with regular commuters for a spot on the bus or jeep.
When the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) in Central Visayas declared that it would strictly impose its “No Standing Policy” in buses that go over 15km from the terminal, many passengers had to be creative to find ways to outsmart the policy.
After all, there are just too many passengers but too little buses to accommodate them all on schedule – that’s even the reason why ‘standing’ is such a common thing to do.
Last January 4, Friday, a bus bound for Bantayan Island in northern Cebu recently went viral after a passenger shared photos of other passengers lying on the floor, sleeping while they waited for the bus to ride the roro vessel to the island.
“Standing is prohibited in the bus… so [they] are lying down! This was taken last night while I was on my way home,” Lyndon Placencia, a native of Bantayan town, wrote.
According to Placencia, the bus he was scheduled to leave at 9:30PM on Friday but because it was already full and the next bus would leave at midnight, a number of passengers begged the conductor to let them ride. So, they were told to sit at the ‘extension’.
While waiting for the roro vessel, the tired passengers slept on the floor.
After the photo went viral, the LTFRB-7 immediately conducted an investigation regarding the incident.
“We saw the post, and we immediately conducted an investigation. And we found out that there was no violation of the No Overloading Policy,” said Eduardo Montealto Jr., director of LTFRB-7.
“We found out that when the photo was taken, the bus was not moving actually. It was already on standby in Hagnaya Port in San Remigio, and was waiting for the ferry to dock to take it to Bantayan Island.”
He added that he spoke with the bus operator’s representatives and some passengers on the said bus; their statements matched.
“It just so happens the passengers seen lying down, who were foreigners, opted to because they were waiting for the ferry to arrive. Both parties’ claims actually coincided,” he further said.
Had the bus operator been found to have violated the policy, it would have been fined Php5,000 for the first offense. The second offense has a fine of Php10,000 while the third offense has a fine of Php15,000 and the bus operator’s franchise will be suspended for a month.