Friday, May 22, 2015

Gold Line Transport Inc, Philtranco Bus 725, and their Prey

(An Email sent to LTFRB, Philtranco and Goldline Transport Inc)

We just arrived in Surigao through your Philtranco  bus  725 (Plate no EVK 171) and looking at how much the remaining passengers to davao hugged and bid goodbye to the surigao passengers who got off is very consoling. I did the same to 4 other passengers who I have been with just in the few hours of my Philtranco  business  ride.

Let me tell you their story.

First, i thought they were a family. I first spoke to them when we stopped in Liloan. I got to the  Philtranco   business  in Libagon, Southern Leyte after the Benit Ferry bound local bus  I have taken in Sogod broke its brakes.

While we stopped in Liloan, and because of the delays in the ferry, the bus instead drove further to San Ricardo onto Benit Ferry.

Since we were very early in Benit Ferry, arriving at 5pm, and not expected to board the boat until 8pm, we all got to talk. This is how I found out about what happened.

While the first couple seem to have paid the correct amount of P1400 each to Tacloban, the other couple was fooled into paying a “Gold Line Transport” Ticket to Davao for P2500. In Tacloban, the Gold Line Staff gave them P1200 (600 each) back,  out of the P5000 they paid, and this is for their fare from Tacloban to Davao. Apparently, the Philtranco fare to Davao, from Tacloban is P700.

The first couple ran out of money so had to call relatives to send them money on site; while the other, having nobody else to send them money, borrowed P200 (added to the P1200 refund) from the first couple just to make it to Davao. By now, this couple have no money left, not even for water nor food. Luckily, the other couple they made friends with have been sharing them whatever they have. They have been telling me how much they have been spending on bus stops, and so been sharing to them my travel strategies to spare my money.

Anyway, we are in Benit Ferry now and everyone has been asking if we can refund the change out of the P300 ferry ticket that the conductor have pre-collected, since it will only be P160 from Benit to Lipata Port. These guys have been hopeful to get at least even only P100 each so they will have money to eat. But, as your conductor is not giving us any clear answer, I told them to go with me instead.

I invited them over for dinner in Benit Ferry, told them to just share the food that I will order, and i hate it that the store owner asked insultingly why we are only ordering 2 viands for 4 people. They have been wanting to bath, but with the nearby households charging P20 per bath, they bath in the seawater instead, just to cool them off a bit.

When we got back, I asked the conductor again for the change. He was pointing me to a guy, whom he said was in charge of deciding which port to go, etc. I asked the guy for the change, and he said it will not be refunded to cover up the additional road distance travelled from Liloan to Benit Ferry. The distance was 45+/- kms, so i told him, it would not cost as much as P140 for road tariff. He turned to his back, and just left.

I asked some people if they asked for their change, and they said they were given the same answer by the conductor. And with several days travelling, I bet no one has the energy to argue for P140, not minding how hungry they are and how that money would have saved their stomach for a good several hours. They just want to be home.
As per me, I was given my ticket after we left Liloan port. When the driver was asking me P387, I asked why 387. He said the fare was 87, and the ferry was P300. I asked why P300, since I read it shall only be P140, he said we’ll find out later (and I have assumed he was not sure of the ferry cost there).

With 50 plus passengers on board, and P140 each, your staff made an additional P7,000 right on the spot. No receipts, no whatsoever. Probably a month or so earning of many of these passengers who barely know they can actually travel cheaper and much more comfortably and conveniently through a flight, if only they know how to operate a mouse and a keyboard.

Perhaps, sometimes, we can be humans too; Not be too greedy on making money, but being of service as well. And just because nobody is complaining, does not mean everything’s just OK.

I am also appealling if you can look at the sleeping buses of Vietnam. The same size of the bus can accomodate the same number of passengers but on lying reclining seats and for probably a fourth of the price you charge.

Ian Limbonis
P.S. If you want some more details, call me
pics available on

I've tried calling the LTFRB Hotline, but number offline... nothing surprising.

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