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DOTr launches modernization program for jeepneys, buses

The Department of Transportation plans to phase out old PUVs, make changes in the franchising system, update routes, and provide training for drivers

INKED. Transportation Secretary Arthur Tugade and Interior Officer-in-Charge Catalino Cuy sign the Omnibus Franchising Guidelines as part of the PUV Modernization Program launch on June 19, 2017. Photo by Rambo Talabong/Rappler

MANILA, Philippines – The Department of Transportation (DOTr) on Monday, June 19, gave an overview of the components of the government’s Public Utility Vehicle (PUV) Modernization Program.

During the launch of the program at Camp Aguinaldo on Monday, June 19, the DOTr said it plans to achieve the following goals:

  • Safe and comfortable transport
  • Predictable travel time
  • Disciplined and competent drivers
  • Fair regulations

How does the DOTr plan to do this?

Phaseout of old PUVs

A major component of the program is the phaseout of all old PUVs, not just jeepneys.

Transportation Secretary Arthur Tugade said most jeepneys are of substandard quality in terms of safety and environmental sustainability.

Jeepneys, instead of being powered by Euro 2 engines, should either be powered by Euro 4 engines or electrically powered engines with solar panels for roofs.

Other proposed specifications include closed-circuit television (CCTV) cameras, a GPS navigation system, an Automatic Fare Collection System (AFCS), speed limiters, dashboard cameras, and Wi-Fi.

These specifications, however, are still not final as the DOTr has yet to release tailored requirements for buses, vans, and jeepneys.

Changes in franchising system

The phaseout will go hand in hand with the new Omnibus Franchising Guidelines (OFG).

Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) Chairman Martin Delgra III explained that there are currently "hundreds of franchisers" who handle varying numbers of PUVs. This, according to Delgra, has been very ineffective.

What they want to happen is for franchisers to join together to form "cooperatives and corporations" for easier regulation, said Delgra.

New route plans

Also under the OFG is the updating of transport routes nationwide.

This will be done in cooperation with local government units (LGUs), backed by the powerful Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG).

LGUs will be required to propose their own set of transport routes. The LTFRB will go through these proposals, one by one, for recommendations and revisions before approval.

The approved route plans will then be consolidated to form the Local Public Transport Route Plan managed also by the LTFRB.

Training for drivers

Many drivers try to skirt around the rules or ignore them altogether. Sometimes, too, drivers are simply clueless about road safety and policies.

This is why the PUV Modernization Program will include training for those who go behind the wheel.

The LTFRB will establish an academy that will teach not just the technicalities of driving, but also how to be a responsible PUV operator, which involves safety measures in operating PUVs and proper etiquette when dealing with passengers.

Concerted effort

Aside from the DOTr and LGUs, the Department of Finance (DOF) and the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) are also involved in the PUV Modernization Program. The DOF and DBM will handle financing.

In Metro Manila, the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) will help in enforcing the regulations under the program.

All of the components, Tugade said, would lead to "safer" and "cost-effective" public transport for all.

The phaseout of old PUVs, however, is likely to again spark outrage among operators and drivers who say it will lead to loss of livelihood. – Rappler.com