Fake TNVS and the unstoppable rise of “Colorum” versus commuters and the law

The access to public transport and the option to take the TNVS is a godsend. Despite this, though, taking either of these isn’t all that… convenient.

Commuting isn’t as easy as it used to be. Back then, taxis and jeepneys were (rather) abundant, bus stops and stations were orderly, trains weren’t needed unless for traveling far, and most importantly, fares were very affordable. Progress has dictated that means of transportation be updated and added, which is good. The population has also increased and the commuter:PUV ratio was pretty even for a time.

Until now.

Commerce has boomed, and more and more of the workforce became reliant on public transport to get to and from work. However, the situation looks dire. Whether it’s availability, accessibility, or a matter of cost, the commuting populace – and even drivers – have been “forced” to take matters into their own hands. Sadly, some of them are not safe, and illegal at that.

Beware of the fake TNVS, colorum “taxis”

Fake Tnvs Colorum Eds Note Inline 01 Min

Photo: LTFRB

Very recently, the LTO has caught wind of instances of vehicles and their drivers posing as legitimate TNVS, which, as we all know, is both unsafe and illegal. We won’t get into how the owner and driver were summoned, but here we see a blatant disregard for the law. As we would always ask, “but why?”.

A proper license to operate and the requisite background checks and information gathered for legitimate vehicles and drivers of a TNVS are what make them legal and safe for all parties, and this concerning practice undermines all of that. Whatever would push individuals to do this is just beyond reason.

Fake Tnvs Colorum Eds Note Inline 03 Min

Photo: LTFRB

Now turning our eyes towards the “colorum”, that is any vehicle posing as legitimate public transport, mostly as a unit of a UV Express that gets maximum rider capacity and maximum potential for turning a quick buck, this has been a plague hounding the LTFRB and the LTO and the entire Department of Transportation for so long now.

This takes the level of being unsafe up to a whole new level. Taking into consideration the same prerequisites for a TNVS, these vehicles have groups of people in them. Should a unit get into more than a fender-bender, who then will take responsibility and accountability for the health and safety of the passengers?

Fake Tnvs Colorum Eds Note Inline 02 Min

Photo: LTFRB

It’s gotten – or has been – so bad that last year, the LTFRB has released the infographic you see above as a guide for commuters to know that the public transport that they’re hopping into is legit. It would be wise to keep this information in our memory banks, really.

So now we go back to the question: “but why?”. Let’s break it down.

On the side of vehicle owners and drivers, engaging in the practice may be contributed to one simple thing: money. Pickings are rather slim in the Philippines, and that is a fact. Does this negate the fact that they do it? No. Does it justify the fact that they do it? Absolutely not. No amount of money must ever equate to legal means and the safety of the passengers that we carry on our shoulders. That is priceless, make no question about that.

On the side of commuters, this may be simpler. The fact remains that as slim pickings money is in the country, so are the options for being able to get to and from their points of destination with ease and (relative) comfort. The sad reality is that commuters are pushed to take these illegal modes of transportation and cough up a hefty buck or two because there just aren’t enough means of public transport to provide the aforementioned ease and comfort. Most would say that it is a disservice to the commuting Filipino people, and that may be right.

We say with great emphasis that we do not mean to make little of the efforts that the government and the DOTr to make commuting better in and around the country. There’s the crackdown on the fake TNVS and colorum vehicles, there’s the subway project, the free bus rides along EDSA, discounted and free MRT rides, and a lot more that are no doubt in the pipe if they haven’t already been started. Kudos and major props for all of these, of course!

But until such time that all these come to fruition and become reality, the plight of the commuters and the fight between lawfulness and the fake TNVS and colorum will remain. Solutions? Again, slim pickings especially for those who have no other choice but to take “public transport”. Not to be a band-aid, but we sincerely hope that the government takes more steps forward to address this, and quickly.

Wait and see is all we can do, but we hope they come sooner than later. God knows our fellow Filipina and Filipino commuters need it.

Mikko Juangco
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