GPS is now a must for buses starting September

In a bid to address the spate of accidents involving public utility buses (PUB), the Land Transportation Franchise and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) ordered PUB owners to install global positioning system (GPS) to all their units to regulate speed limit and promote road safety starting September this year.

Based on the study conducted by the UP National Center for Transportation Studies, commuting by buses is six times more risky than car and five times more than jeepneys and taxis.

The July 5, 2015 Manila Bulletin report by Maricel Burgonio said that LTFRB Chairman Winston Ginez issued a statement saying the agency’s aim in requiring buses to install GPS device is to protect the riding public by regulating the speed limit of buses to prevent more accidents from happening.

“The Board’s main aim is to protect the safety of the riding public by regulating the speed limit of buses traversing our national roads and highways. With the use of latest and innovative technology, we believe we can modernize our transport system and provide the commuters with reliable, convenient and safe transportation services,” he said.

The GPS will allow LTFRB to monitor if buses exceed the imposed speed limit. Passengers can also monitor the speed of the bus through an on-screen display installed in the bus.

An in-vehicle GPS device and communication system works by continuously sending speed and location data to a control center. This will enable the LTFRB to determine whether the unit is following its authorized route and maintaining the prescribed speed limit.

A bus will be tagged as speeding when the in-vehicle GPS device exceeds the imposed speed limit.

Eighty kilometers per hour is the speed limit for expressways and 60 kilometers per hour in other urban areas.

The LTFRB set the following dates for the installation and registration of GPS:

  • Provincial buses entering Metro Manila – September 1, 2015 to January 31, 2016
  • Metro Manila city buses – January 1, 2016 to April 30, 2016
  • Inter-regional buses not entering Metro Manila – April 1, 2016 to July 31, 2016
  • Intra-regional buses – on or before July 1, 2016 – October 31, 2016

Failure to install GPS is penalized with P5,000 fine per unit. An additional P1,000 fine per unit for every month of continued non-compliance will be slapped violators.

Operators and drivers who will be caught tampering their GPS devices will be fined P5,000 for the first offense and P10,000 for the second offense. For the third offense, a P15,000 fine will be imposed and 30 days suspension of  the bus franchise.