Drivers of public utility vehicles (PUVs) will no longer need to compete with each other on the road and will have stable earnings once the PUV modernization program (PUVMP) is implemented, an official of the Department of Transportation (DOTr) said.
In a Laging Handa briefing on Thursday, Alberto “Bert” Suansing, DOTr road sector senior consultant, said one of the least highlighted aspects of the government’s PUVMP was the overhaul of the mechanics between a PUV driver and the operator.
In the past and for some traditional jeepneys, he said a PUV driver’s earnings fully depend on how many passengers he can take, with the operator taking a consistent chunk of his earnings called a “boundary,” aside from fuel costs.
“At yung matitira dun sa kawawang driver, kung meron, mahigit kumulang on the average is PHP400 or even less. Sa mahabang oras na pagmamaneho (What is left, if there is any, is on average about PHP400 or less. And that’s after working long hours),” Suansing said.
This, he said, is one of the things the DOTr wants to change with the PUVMP program.
Currently, he said, many PUV drivers retire with no pension as the informal transportation industry do not require drivers and operators to open an account with the Social Security System (SSS).
“Kapag kinakailangan nilang magretire, wala silang pensyon dahil hindi sila nagbabayad ng SSS, hindi sila binabayad sa SSS ng kanilang employer (When they need to retire, they don’t have a pension because they don’t make periodical payments to SSS, neither do their operators/employers),” Suansing said.
He said the current system allows for such oversight as operators are not required to see their drivers as their employees.
The change is needed, he said, to create a more predictable PUV service, where public transportation can be relied on to be available at specific times, while drivers will not compete and instead work together in shifts.
28 city bus routes in operation
Meanwhile, he said the DOTr has so far remain on schedule with its two-phase restoration of public transportation in Metro Manila.
Currently, he said 28 city bus routes are operating out of the 31 routes planned by the Land Transportation Franchising Regulatory Board (LTFRB) for the duration of the quarantine in the region.
However, he said there are no plans yet to resume provincial bus operation as the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Disease (IATF-EID) was yet to allow it.
He added that for the IATF-EID to give the green light for provincial buses, many challenges have yet to be overcome, specifically the consent of local government units to allow such an operation in their jurisdictions. (PNA)