Last week, the Department of Transportation (DOTr) Secretary Arthur Tugade instructed the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) to allow hatchbacks to operate as public transport. Now, the DOTr has officially released Department Order No. 2019-013, officially allowing hatchbacks and even sub-compacts to operate as Transportation Network Vehicle Services (TNVS) permanently, amending D.O. No. 2017-011.

Aside from allowing hatchbacks and subcompacts to operate as TNVS, D.O. No. 2019-013 also listed guidelines for owners and TNVS operators to follow. While sedans, wagons, and SUVs may carry up to four passengers, hatchbacks and sub-compacts are only allowed to carry a maximum of three passengers excluding the driver.

DOTr: Hatchbacks, sub-compacts permanently allowed as TNVS image

The new DOTr guidelines are on top of the LTFRB's Memorandum Circular (MC) No. 2018-005, which allows all accredited hatchback units to be used provided that they only operate during the transition period of three years, only in Metro Manila, and charge a lower fare as compared to sedans.

Previously, hatchbacks weren't allowed to be used as public transport which is why numerous TNVS drivers also complained about the issue. With the new D.O., even other hatchbacks not included in the 55,000 TNVS units in the master list made by Transport Network Companies (TNC) are allowed as public transport.

Allowing hatchbacks and even sub-compacts to operate as part of the TNVS fleet will certainly give the commuting public more options to choose from as well as a more affordable way to get around the metro. Having hatchbacks and subcompacts as TNVS will also help commuters book a ride during times of high demand such as during rush hour.