LTFRB to discuss action on nearing PUV modernization deadline

Anjo Bagaoisan, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Feb 02 2023 10:42 PM

MANILA — With only 2 months left before the government’s public utility vehicle (PUV) modernization program comes into full effect, the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) is set to meet Monday to discuss how it would deal with those who have yet to comply with the program, a member of the board said Thursday.

Riza Marie Paches said the board will tackle the findings of a technical working group it created to look into various scenarios on what would happen come April 1st when all jeepneys and UV Expresses will be required to be part of transport of cooperatives under the program.

“I know they have conducted several assessments of regulations that we have right now, and we are looking at what are the implications, and look for ways na hindi detrimental sa lahat. The board is currently waiting for it,” Paches told reporters.

“There’s going to be a discussion on Monday regarding this one so we can be able to already lay down the actions to be taken and options for these people to do.” Paches declined to disclose the 5 scenarios that are being looked into, saying revealing them could add to confusion in the transport sector.

She added that while there has been no issuance on extending the deadline, the board will also look into that possibility.

Asked if PUVs that have yet to comply by then will be barred from plying their routes, she said, “Far out na siguro ‘yong not to be allowed, but there’s going to be certain compliance that they have to go through.”

In Metro Manila, only 11,821 units of jeepneys and UV Express have been consolidated into cooperatives as of January 26, according to LTFRB data.

The LTFRB counts more than 36,000 jeep and UV Express operators in NCR.

The government has pushed the formation of coops—which will help carry the costs of switching from traditional to modern jeepneys—to address concerns by many drivers and operators that the modernization program would cost them too much.

Atty. Zona Tamayo, regional director of LTFRB NCR, met on Thursday with representatives of different cooperatives at the LTFRB NCR office to discuss the modernization drive.

Many operators still have questions or concerns about the impact of the modernization on their business, Tamayo said. She said they would continue information dissemination and meeting with transport groups to invite operators who have not yet consolidated their vehicles.

“If they unite together, lalo na sa ruta nila, mas maganda ang magiging operations nila, mas mapag-aaralan nila ang needs ng kanilang mga ruta, mas maaalagaan nila ang kanilang mga miyembro, mas maaalagaan nila ang kanilang drivers, expenses, operating expenses is shouldered by the whole cooperative,” Tamayo told reporters.

The modernization program also plans to end the boundary system in public transport by essentially making drivers and conductors salaried employees, the LTFRB said.

The program, began in 2017, initially planned to phase out the traditional jeepneys by 2020 but was delayed by the COVID-19 pandemic. The deadline was extended multiple times following appeals by transport groups which struggled to return their routes as restrictions were lifted.