V-hire drivers earn less at CSBT

THE displaced southbound van-for-hire (v-hire) drivers and operators have experienced a slight decrease in their earnings and number of passengers since the their terminal was relocated to the back of the Cebu South Bus Terminal (CSBT).

The drivers and operators said they are still adjusting to the rules being implemented in the new terminal that include the ticketing system, fare management, size of the terminal and the passenger waiting time.

The southbound v-hire terminal was transferred to CSBT on May 5, 2023, following the closure of the terminal in Barangay Kamagayan on April 28.

Dondon Omayan, president of GT Express Toledo Operators and Drivers Association, said each van is given only 30-35 minutes to wait for passengers, and they need to leave the terminal after the given time, regardless of whether the 18-seat capacity is filled up or not.

Omayan said in an interview on Monday, May 15, 2023, that it was the first time the v-hire drivers and operators implemented such a setup since for the longest time, the arrangement was to allow the v-hires to fill their vans to capacity regardless of the time.

With the rules implemented in CSBT, Omayan said drivers had to leave the terminal even if there were still three to four seats left unoccupied.

This affects the earnings of the drivers, he said.

Less take-home pay

The drivers and operators also notice less take-home pay for drivers due to the terminal fees.

The fare for a trip going to Toledo City is P150 per person. But for a trip to and from Toledo City, Omayan said drivers spend P600 for fuel.

In the new terminal, v-hire drivers have to pay P50 when they arrive at the terminal and another P150 when they leave the terminal.

This means that for a single trip to Toledo City, a driver also spends P800 as capital, but he collects an average of P2,250 per trip if he is fortunate to get 15 passengers every trip, netting him P1,450.

In contrast, at the Kamagayan Terminal, the v-hire also spent P800 as capital, broken down into P200 for terminal fee and P600 for fuel. However, since the v-hire is guaranteed to be full at the time of departure, the driver collects P2,700 per trip, netting him a larger P1,900.

Becca Hinagdanan, the president of GT Express drivers and operators association for the Simala, Sibonga route, said in a separate interview that during the first three days in the new terminal, some v-hires had to leave despite only having three passengers.

Hinagdanan said this hurt the pockets of some drivers as they need to spend at least P800 for their fuel to and from Simala in Sibonga town.

Hinagdanan said some passengers may also not be aware yet of the new location of the southbound v-hire terminal, while some opt for another mode of transportation as they may find the ticketing system inconvenient.

“Before, passengers can directly sit inside the van. They don’t have to endure the long lines to get a ticket. Maybe that’s the reason they don’t take the v-hire anymore,” she said.

Omayan also raised a concern on the size of the terminal which forced some drivers to look for a parking lot since the area could not accommodate all of the v-hire units.

There are 130 v-hire units bound for Toledo City, 40 units bound for Moalboal, 30 units bound for Simala, and three units bound for Pinamungajan. CSBT can accommodate only 40 v-hire units.

The fare management also did not sit well with Boyen Mamalias, a representative from Moalboal GT Express association, as some drivers cannot directly take home their income for that specific day.

Mamalias said v-hire operators are asked to open a bank account where the collected fare will be deposited.

As of the moment, checks are issued to the drivers.

He said this takes at least two days before the drivers get their checks.

“This is hard, especially for the drivers, like me, who are only relying on the money we get from the collected fare on that day,” said Mamalias.

Despite the various concerns, both Omayan and Hinagdanan said they are willing to adjust and take some measures to address these, adding having a terminal intended for vans-for-hire is already a good opportunity for them.