Latest and 4th LTFRB franchise extension granted, traditional jeepneys will not be phased out yet

The public utility vehicle modernization program (PUVMP) remains a bit of a struggle for the DOTr and the LTFRB to fully implement. The sheer number of “traditional” jeepneys still plying our roads poses a problem for operators and drivers alike, whether it’s the wait for a government subsidy or other means to update their fleets and for drivers to keep their jobs.

For the 4th time, the LTFRB has granted another extension for traditional jeepneys franchises that are set to expire this coming April, giving another reprieve for everyone to be able to get on board with the modernization program.

LTFRB will continue pushing for PUVMP; operators and drivers to get benefits under the Program

Ltfrb Traditional Jeepney Franchise Extension Puvmp Inline 01 Min

Photo: LTFRB

As it stands, the agency tallies that about 60% of all traditional jeepneys have been upgraded to PUVMP units. They are still waiting for the remaining 40% to get on board, and their target is to have at least 95% of all traditional jeepneys phased out in favor of the newer and modern units.

“Hindi namin gustong mayroong maiiwan kaya nais namin na kahit 95% lang ng mga dyip ang maging handa na kapag itinuloy namin ang [We don’t want to leave anyone behind so we are aiming for at least 95% of jeepneys are ready when we move forward with the] PUV modernization program,” emphasized Atty. Teofilo Guadiz III, LTFRB Chairman.

‘However, sa meeting, pag-uusapan din namin kung may mga area na talagang fully-modernized na, baka doon ilatag na namin nang tuluyan iyong full modernization (program). But on areas na kulang-kulang pa o wala pang modernized jeepney, [However, in the meeting, we will discuss if there are areas that are already fully-modernized, perhaps we will push strongly for the full modernization program there. But in areas that are still not equipped or have no modernized jeepneys yet,] we will still stick to the traditional jeepney,’ he later added.

The LTFRB is also taking into consideration that if they allow franchises to expire in April, it will pose a significant reduction in the already-limited means of public transportation for commuters.

Ltfrb Traditional Jeepney Franchise Extension Puvmp Inline 02 Min

Photo: LTFRB

As a means to set operators and drivers at ease, the agency has again assured that benefits await those who will get on board with the modernization program. Inclusion in the program will allow them to be members of a unified group to help give them easier access to various benefits.

“Sa ilalim ng PUV modernization program, mawawala na iyong tinatawag na ‘boundary’ system. Sa halip, ang mga operator o tsuper ay mabibigyan ng sahod at maging ng mga benepisyo na mula sa gobyerno, katulad ng isang regular na manggagawa [Under the PUV modernization program, there will no longer be a ‘boundary’ system. Instead, the operator or driver will be given salaries as well as government benefits as a regular employee],” said Atty. Zona Russet Tamayo, regional director of the LTFRB Regional Franchising and Regulatory Office for the National Capital Region (RFRO-NCR).

“Dahil consolidated, mas magiging madali na ngayon na malaman ng mga operator o tsuper ang mga umiiral na polisiya at programa ng pamahalaan. Mas magiging madali na rin para sa gobyerno na maipaabot ang iba’t ibang tulong tulad ng subsidiya na ibinibigay ng gobyerno para sa sektor ng transportation {Because it is consolidated, it will be easier for operators or driver to know the standing policies and programs of the government. It will also be easier for the government to hand various forms of assistance like the subsidies given for the transportation sector],” Tamayo added.

As of this posting, the Taguig Transport Service Cooperative is already on board. In a statement, the Cooperative’s President Freddie Hernandez emphasized that joining will help in reducing the expenses of both operators and drivers.

“Kabilang dito ang mga gastusin nila sa produktong petrolyo, maintenance, at iba pa na maaaring sagutin na ng cooperative para mabawasan ang problema nila [Included is the expenses for petroleum products, maintenance, and others that can be shouldered by the cooperative to lessen their problems],” Hernandez said.

Jeepney Fare Matrix Displayed Main 00 Min ltfrb puvmp

The PUVMP began as early as 2017. Given the sorry state of traditional jeepneys still plying our roads, convenience and more importantly safety have become the greatest points for concern of the DOTr and the LTFRB.

Granted, not everyone can easily jump into the program, but the government can and should find ways to push the program forward for everyone’s benefit. We say this very loosely, though, because a great deal of the responsibility of modernizing their fleets also falls on the operators’ shoulders.

The government and transport groups must reach a consensus, and sooner rather than later. It’s not just about the program, it’s about the safety and livelihood of the Filipino people that are in the balance.

Mikko Juangco
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