We've heard many times before that the government will finally phase out old, dilapidated and smoke-belching jeepneys – for 3 straight years now. This time, the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) has set June 30 next year as the final of final deadlines for jeepney drivers and operators to shift to the new vehicles certified by the Public Utility Vehicle (PUV) Modernization Program.
"The deadliest deadline is June 30, 2020. By then, all polluting and dilapidated jeepneys will be gone,” said Ronald Corpuz, an LTFRB board member. Come July 1, 2020, there should be ZERO old jeepneys plying the Philippine roads. Any old jeepneys caught face hefty fines and their assigned routes will be opened to new operators that have followed and complied with the PUV Modernization Program.
The PUV Modernization Program (PUVMP) is one of the flagship projects of the Duterte Administration, which aspires to leave the Filipino with safer, more efficient, and more environmentally-friendly mass transport by the time the President steps down in 2022. Spearheaded by the Department of Transportation, progress for the PUV Modernization Program has been marred with strong opposition, strikes and delays, mainly due to transport groups who continue to oppose the program, citing the high cost of modern jeepneys, drastic change in their ownership and operation structure, and few financial aid options to acquire modern jeepneys that cost upwards of PhP 1.6M to PhP 2.2M.
The PUVMP was first announced in 2017 and hopes to replace our current jeepneys with safer, more modern vehicles, fitted with newer more fuel-efficient Euro-4 compliant engines, side-loading doors, high headroom, and provisions for electronic payment options. Besides these, the vehicles are also required to be fitted with modern safety features like dashboard cameras, CCTV security cameras, and speed limiters. It also hopes to overhaul the current one-jeepney, one-franchise system to a cooperative one-route, one-franchise system that will have a monopoly over an area. Cooperatives will share ownership, maintenance costs, and provide members with shared profits, fixed driving hours, and fixed routes.
The PUVMP has already deployed several pilot projects around the country. Among these are routes in Boracay, Iloilo, Rizal, and Tarlac. To date, only 4,000 modern jeepneys are currently operating. The government's target is to replace at least 170,000 units nationwide.
Besides benefitting the regular commuter, regular motorcycle riders can look forward to breathing cleaner air in traffic, and feel safer around PUVMP drivers required to undergo training and only drop off passengers at pre-designated stops.