SM North terminal accreditation fees temporarily suspended

July 9, 2021 Ryan Ponce Pacpaco 583 views

IN light of the effects of the pandemic, jeepney and UV express operators and Park Solutions, Inc. (PSI) have agreed to temporarily suspend the new accreditation fees being imposed at the SM North terminal, House committee on Metro Manila development chairman and Manila 1st District Rep. “Manny” T. Lopez said Friday. “Transport groups and Park Solutions, the new SM Transport Terminals Parking Management Operator, agreed to a compromise during our committee hearing last Wednesday. The compromise was to temporarily suspend the imposition of new accreditation fees for the SM North operations until July 28, which is the date of our next hearing on the issue,” Lopez said.

“We acknowledge the need for this compromise because our drivers and operators are still suffering from the effects of the pandemic on their livelihoods. As we know, they have limited load capacities now to comply with health and safety standards, while the price of fuel is also continuously rising. We believe that this is the best step forward while we allow both parties to continue their dialogues,” Lopez added.

The lawmaker from Tondo said Pasang Masda complained about the high fees being imposed by PSI. PSI is charging P1,000 monthly accreditation fee per vehicle aside from the P30-P50 daily dispatch fee and a one-time fee of P150 for the RFIP system. PSI Chief Operating Officer, Atty. Pitero Reig said the fees are reasonable and much lower compared to the fees transport groups are collecting from drivers but admitted that the PSI fees could be adjusted when the situation gets better.

Transport operators such as Pasang Masda and Centenaryo Transport Services, Inc. disputed these during the hearing and decried that they were being displaced by other operators who have agreed to the new terms. They added that the fees they are collecting are being spent not just on terminal slots but also on the programs and facilities for their members.

“We understand that businesses need to earn,” Lopez said. “But in these extraordinary times businesses should be extra compassionate and understanding. The welfare of our ordinary drivers, operators and riding public should be prioritized.”

“This issue is challenging and both parties have valid claims but we are thankful that the committee has led the parties to coordinate with each other. For our part, we will work with the DOTr (Department of Transportation) and LTFRB (Land Transportation Franchising Regulatory Board) to help find a lasting solution, with the possibility of introducing legislation if needed,” Lopez said.

“As always, we assure the public that our commitment is to put the interests of the general public at the forefront especially the poor and the sectors that need the help of government the most. This issue or dispute between the transport groups and PSI, if not resolved, will eventually end up affecting the riding public, as they will ultimately be the ones to be inconvenienced and bear the burden of this dispute.

That is why we will work towards finding a solution to this dispute through the help of all stakeholders,” Lopez said.

On November 16, 2020, PSI took over the management and operation of at least 47 SM transport terminals around the country. It said that for the SM North EDSA transport terminal, 12 out of the 14 transport operators have agreed to their new system where a traditional jeep will pay P63/day, and a UV Express vehicle will pay P83/day for the use of the terminal. Under the previous parking slot agreement, transport groups were renting slots from Supermalls Transport Services, Inc. for around P270,000 per month (seven slots and 12 depots) or roughly less than P30 per day per unit.