Jegans buses suspended

Posted on October 29, 2012

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by Edison delos Angeles, Joy Cherry S. Quito, Carmel Loise Matus, Correspondents

 

Wrecked Jegans bus. (CONTRIBUTED PHOTO)

Brake malfunction was the cause of the Jegans bus crash in Toledo City where seven passengers were killed and 42 were wounded, according to an initial police report.

But passenger accounts of the bus speeding to overtake another bus has focused attention as well on the conduct of the driver Allan Pastidio and the practice of provincial buses engaging in instant road races on the highway.

Bastidio, who was hired in April, said it was his first time to drive a public utility bus.

“Naka drive na ko ug dekarga (truck) ug jeep pero bag-o ra ko sa Jegans,” he told Cebu Daily News.

(I’ve driven a cargo truck and jeepney before but I’m new in Jegans.)

He survived with a small cut in the ear and bruise on his side. Police have detained him in the Toledo police station while affidavits of victims are being gathered to support a complaint.

Skill level and good preventive maintenance are key in road safety.

Bastidio said he checked the bus brakes that day.

“Naka-brake pa man ko sa dayun nga bahada, naa pa man koy brakes pero kalit lang gyud nga nawala akong brake. Nibasiyo lang ug kalit,” he said.

A total of 42 passengers were injured when the bus crashed into a concrete fence in barangay Don Andress Soriano past 7 p.m. as it headed downwhill. The fence was located in the residence of Maria Bacalso but no one in the property were injured.

The crash site is the same location of five other vehicular accidents since 2000, according to Antonio Alfanta, a Toledo resident.

“Ever since the couple who lived there passed away, accidents have been happening in front of that house. Somones ends up getting killed,” he said in Cebuano.

He recalled this was the same site where a Corominas-owned VJ and A bus lost its brakes and slammed the concrete wall. Fifteen pasengers were killed and 65 were wounded in that July 4, 2010 accident.

SUSPENDED

As a routine measure, the Land Transportation Franchising Regulatory Board (LTFRB) – 7 suspended operations of three other Jegans bus units, but not the entire fleet.

“We will not suspend all bus units of the company, only those units under the same franchise, said LTRFB Regional Director Ahmed Cuizon.

He said they can’t ground an entire bus fleet because of peak transport service demand with All Souls’ Day and All Saints’ Day this week, with crowds heading to the province to visit family gravesites.

All 11 Jegans bus units are registered under the name of Dr. Antonio Yapha as owner, said the official.

The four buses under franchise case number 07-09-4048 will be suspended for 30 days pending investigation.

SPO2 Larry Pili of Toledo police station said the ill-fated bus carried 49 passsengers and was travelling on national highway in barangay DAS heading for Pinamungahan town on the west coast.

The bus was negotiating a road curve when the brakes failed, he said.

Hospital reports said 43 passengers were treated for injuries in Carmen Copper Hospital and Toledo City Hospital while six died before reaching the hospital.

The survivors were later transferred to Vicente Sotto Memorial Medical Center in Cebu City.

SP02 Pili said passengers whom the police talked to were not able to describe clearly whether the driver was driving at high or low speed. He said they only noticed that the brake was not functioning. (See separate story of witness interviewed by CDN)

The LTFRB already contacted the insurance company to speed up the release of benefit claims of accident victims – at least P75,000 per fatality and a maximum of P15,000 for injured victims.

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