The Department of Transportation (DOTr) is sticking with its timeline for jeepneys across the country to be modernized by 2020, an official said Tuesday.
“Tuluy-tuloy ang PUV modernization; kailangan po natin sila palitan ng bago. The transition period still remains the same; 2017 napirmahan ang Omnibus Franchising Guidelines, binigyan natin ng three years basically until 2020 (The PUV modernization will push through; the jeepneys must be replaced with new ones. The transition period still remains the same; the Omnibus Franchising Guidelines was signed in 2017, we are giving three years until 2020),” DOTr Assistant Secretary for Road Transport and Infrastructure Mark de Leon said in a radio interview.
De Leon was reacting to calls from various sectors to defer the program due to the high costs of acquiring the modern vehicles and concerns on displacement of livelihood of jeepney operators and drivers.
The DOTr official said jeepney operators are given the choice to acquire vehicles suitable for their operations.
“Operators have the choice to buy their vehicles kung Euro 4, clean diesel or Euro 5 bahala sila diyan. Or electric kapag sa tingin nila makakatipid sila (Operators have the choice to buy their vehicles whether it is Euro 4, clean diesel or Euro 5 — they have the choice. They can also choose electric powered vehicles to save on their costs),” de Leon said.
“Hindi po tayo ang namimili ng mga manufacturers. Bahala ang operators na mamili ng manufacturers na gusto nila. Kung sa tingin nila etong jeepney nila ay fit sa ruta nila yun ang pipiliin nila (We are not the ones selecting the manufacturers. Operators have the choice what manufacturing firms they prefer. If they think that this particular kind of jeepney is fit for their routes they will choose it),” he added.
The department is implementing a three year transition period since last year that will replace around 179,000 jeepney units nationwide.
Modern public utility vehicles (PUVs) have Euro-4 compliant fuel engines and equipped with closed-circuit television cameras, a GPS navigation system, automated fare collection system, speed limiters, dashboard cameras, and Wi-Fi.
The cost of the modern PUV ranges from PHP1.5-1.8 million compared to jeepney units, which are costing within PHP900,000 to PHP1 million.
An estimated PHP1.5 billion will be given to transport corporations and cooperatives to purchase new PUVs through the Development Bank of the Philippines’ Program Assistance to Support Alternative Driving Approaches (PASADA). The program will feature 5-percent equity for vehicle purchase, 6-percent interest rate and seven-year repayment period.
Under PASADA, a maximum of 95 percent of the cost of the vehicle, and a maximum of 75 percent of the cost of the support facilities comprise the total loan per borrower. The government will also offer a maximum subsidy of PHP80,000 to cover the equity payment.
The Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) will require existing operators to consolidate into cooperatives or consortiums to gain better access to resources, share operations and maintenance costs and maximize profits thru efficient vehicle dispatch.
A total of 486 cooperatives were already formed as of September 2018.
The DOTr is also holding workshops and seminars among local government units to implement their respective route rationalization plans, which will be used for the deployment of modern public utility vehicles based on passenger demand.
Under its Omnibus Franchising Guidelines, public transport routes will be planned by local government units (LGUs) based on the current and projected travel patterns in their respective areas. These routes will be contained in the Local Public Transport Route Plan of LGUs which will serve as basis for franchise issuance by the LTFRB.
To date, the DOTr has opened fifteen operational routes for modern jeepneys in the National Capital Region, Western and Central Visayas.
In a recent Senate hearing on the PUV Modernization Program, Senator Bam Aquino pushed for a five-year transition period for its implementation as he cited that it would not be feasible for jeepney operators and drivers to afford the new jeepney units within three years. (PNA)