PUVMP: Is this an optimistic look at the inevitable future of public utility vehicles?

The government’s Public Utility Modernization Program (PUVMP) continues to steamroll ahead. Despite not much news about its progress, a look at what could be the PUVs of the future was given to the public at the recently concluded Transport Forum held during the Philippine Commercial Vehicle Show (PCVS) 2023. Let’s have a look at what was presented, shall we?

Government maintains push for PUVMP in the name of safe, comfortable, convenient public transportation

Puvmp Dotr Public Utility Vehicle Modernization Program Transport Forum 2023 Inline 01 Min

Photo: DOTr

Held on July 6, the Transport Forum which is part of this year’s PCVS showed off a number of options being put forward as “replacements” of the current public utility vehicles that ply our roads. Modern interpretations of the iconic jeepney, shuttles both running on fuel and electric, and even commercial buses were put on display.

The main draw of these modern PUVs includes equipment and safety features such as GPS, CCTV, free Wi-Fi, and side entrances. But what really catches the eyes are jeepneys that (can finally) have air conditioning and a more spacious rear passenger cabin, making it more comfortable for commuters.

Puvmp Dotr Public Utility Vehicle Modernization Program Transport Forum 2023 Inline 02 Min

Photo: DOTr

“Para sa Kagawaran ng Transportasyon, ang patuloy na pagsusulong sa implementasyon ng Public Utility Vehicle Modernization Program (PUVMP) ay kabilang sa aming pangunahing prayoridad [For the DOTr, the continued push for the Public Utility Vehicle Modernization Program’s (PUVMP) implementation is the first priority],” said James Andres Melad, DOTr Assistant Secretary for Road Transport and Infrastructure.

“Kaugnay nito, gumagawa po kami kasama ang aming qualified agencies—ang LTO, LTFRB, OTC at sa iba pang ahensya na katuwang ng DOTr sa mga hakbang upang magpatupad ng realistic at viable timelines para sa lahat ng aktibidad sa ilalim ng PUVMP [In line with this, we along with our qualified agencies – the LTO, LTFRB, OTC, and other agencies alongside the DOTr – are making steps for a realistic and viable timelines for the PUVMP’s implementation],” Melad also added.

Puvmp Dotr Public Utility Vehicle Modernization Program Transport Forum 2023 Inline 03 Min

Photo: DOTr

As it stands, the Modernization Program wants to focus on its long-term benefits and the opportunities that it presents, not just to commuters, but to PUV drivers as well. Under the Program’s Industry Consolidation component, these benefits include fleet management, the assignment of safety officers, and having their own terminals and garages, among many others.

Public opinion towards the PUVMP is still very much divided, but we cannot deny that it deserves a proper shot. It does, provided that careful study and attainable standards and mandates are given to everyone involved, of course. We still have about half a year for the Consolidation to be revisited, and we hope that all is in order before the year ends.

After all, who doesn’t want to reach their destinations not looking, or worse, smelling like the proverbial “mandirigma” at the start of the work’s shift, right? That doesn’t hurt at all, even more so if it’s safer and more affordable.

Mikko Juangco
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