MANILA - The Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) has unveiled the designs for a prototype of the proposed public utility vehicle (PUV) modernization program.
The DTI said it will gather feedback on the designs until August 15 and will submit them to the Department of Transportation (DOTr).
The DOTr plans to roll out the program this month and will decide on the manufacturing of the PUVs.
"It is not the design per se, it is the design standards of the new jeepney. One example of that is the jeepney that we have today. Pagpasok mo, you have to stoop down, (because) the ceiling height is low. The new standard will be 175cm, that means when you go in, you can stand up, like a mini bus," said Henry Co, governor of the Board of Investments (BoI).
The new design standards will be safer because they feature side doors and front-facing seats with safety belts for each passenger. "Today it's rear entrance, the new standards, it has to be side entrance. Wala nang sabit," he added.
There is an ongoing discussion about the use of automated cards for fare payment, similar to the LRT and MRT.
"There will be a speed limiter, you cannot go beyond a certain speed," Co added.
The standards are guided by local agencies and the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE).
"We've consulted with the jeepney operators and manufacturers, and what you have at the website at the Bureau of Product Standards (BPS) today is the result of those consultations," he said.
Kilusan sa Pagbabago ng Industriya ng Transportasyon (KAPIT) introduced Bagong Jeeps (BEEPS) on October, with all units running according to Atty. Vigor Mendoza, group chairman.
The transport group is advocating on the use of bio-ethanol powered jeepneys, with prototype vehicles running on the streets of Tarlac, Clark, Baguio, Iloilo, Cagayan de Oro, and Davao City.
"(We are) showing the operators that they will really earn from converting their old to new," Mendoza said.
"We have been running for the last two, three years," he added.
PUV modernization can be expensive and the government will be providing support both on the financing and manufacturing phases of the program.
The BoI will allocate a maximum of P9 billion to the PUV modernization program to help manufacturers bring down the cost of the jeepneys.
"Now you (jeepney operators) can to go the bank and apply for financing and have it (jeepney) insured. There are many benefits," Co added.
“There will be a showcase of some concept products in September, there will be about 15 to 16 different models that will be open to the public. We are hoping that we’ll be able to do it by the end of the year,” he said.