Rural Transit services criticized

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Wednesday, May 14, 2014

PASSENGERS of Rural Transit Mindanao Inc. (RTMI) have criticized the services of the bus company.

Nida Satillo, who often travels to Iligan City to visit her husband’s family, said the free wifi service isn’t true, saying: “What I don’t like lang about them is the false advertisement they put in front of their buses. I never had an experience to access their free wifi.”

She said commuting is cheaper than using the family’s car considering the high cost of gasoline these days.


“They (RTMI) are speeding especially in remote areas. Whenever we pass by these areas, I could not sleep anymore. Plus, seatbelts are not usable either. I don’t trust the drivers at all. They seem confident enough that no one will cross the street late at night,” she said.

Another passenger named Mike (not his real name) also shared the same sentiments with Satillo.

“If I am bound for Cagayan de Oro, Iligan City, or vice versa, I don’t travel with RTMI at all because I support the local transportation, Super 5, since they really beat Super 5 in lowering bus fares. And personally, I don’t like the RTMI drivers, especially those driving the non-aircon buses. They’re bullies,” he said. He is a resident from Iligan and travels with his band mates whenever they have gigs elsewhere.

However, when Mike travels to Ozamiz to have his gig every weekend, “I have no choice but to ride the RTMI buses because it’s the only transport company that travels in the area.”

Christian, another commuter, said he appreciates the services of RTMI, “but I have also experienced drivers who are [toughies on] the road. I think RTMI’s way of extending its service still needs improvement. They should really start educating their drivers well because I think many lack the knowledge on what to do when they are on the road carrying a large number of passengers.”

RTMI has two stations -- one at Agora, Barangay Lapasan and the other at Barangay Bulua.

The Agora terminal is used by buses going to and from Butuan, Cotabato and Davao routes, while Bulua terminal ply the Western routes.

Contrary to the commuters who travel to the western areas in Mindanao, passengers who are eastbound are satisfied with the RTMI’s services.

Alma Mendez, who travelled with her niece to Cotabato, said through the years she’s been riding the RTMI buses, she hasn’t encountered any accident because “drivers are careful. They don’t sleep nor drink. But sometimes, they drive slowly na makalangan pud hinuon.”

RTMI restricted drivers to travel only from 60 to 80 kilometers per hour (kph).

A driver, who doesn’t want to be named, said there is a travel time restriction where they should arrive on their destinations on-the-dot. If they arrive earlier or later than their scheduled time, they are penalized.

The driver said during their trips, they are inspected, too. The area supervisor has inspectors. They will be the one who will inspect the tickets the fare collectors have collected for the trip.

Drivers were encouraged to collect P10,000 for every round trip, because they will receive a commission or incentive from it.

Although they are not required, Ariel (not his real name), an RTMI driver for five years, wants to achieve this.

“Although it is just a small amount but this is already a great help to my family. I have three children and they all go to school,” he said.

It is recalled that 15 buses of RTMI has been suspended by the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) last May 8, 2014 due to the no-franchise bus that rolled over last April 27, 2014 in Anonang, Aurora, Pagadian City killing six people and injured 16 others.

Some may have speculated that the driver of the ill-fated bus was in a rush to achieve the ‘quota.’

Sun.Star Cagayan de Oro tried to contact the RTMI management for their comment for this story, but none of the employees provided any statement to this paper.

Published in the Sun.Star Cagayan de Oro newspaper on May 14, 2014.

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