December 1, 2023

The Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board-Regional Office advised the associations of public utility jeepney (PUJ) drivers and operators in the city to expedite their application for franchise consolidation.

The board also clarified that the transport groups may be granted a deadline extension for the transition of their traditional units to modern ones.

Under the Public Utility Vehicle Modernization Program (PUVMP), PUV operators are obliged to be members of a cooperative or a corporation for the consolidation of their franchises. The cooperative or the corporation becomes a juridical entity that owns a single franchise and operates on a specific route.

One requirement for the franchise consolidation is the replacement of traditional jeepneys to modernized units that are Euro-4 compliant.

Previously, several transport groups lodged a petition against the PUV Modernization Program claiming that their livelihood will end on Dec. 31 if they fail to comply with the requisites of the PUV modernization program.

Atty. Laird Dionel N. Urbanozo, a representative from the LTFRB- Regional Office, said that transport groups are allowed to consolidate even if they have not yet replaced their traditional units as long as they file a motion for extension addressed to the regional director stating therein the justifiable reasons for the delay.

The city council then passed a resolution supporting the call for the deadline extension in order to give ample time for PUJ drivers and operators to replace their units.

Many PUJ associations in the city, however, are having a hard time complying with the requirements of franchise consolidation.

Urbanozo said that jeepney associations, although still allowed to consolidate after the deadline, may lose their privilege to be prioritized to operate on their own routes as other compliant cooperatives may apply for their slots.

They will later on be considered as new entrants for the bidding, Urbanozo added.

“Under the circular, if they do not consolidate after the deadline, they will be considered new entrants already and they lose their preference over the route,” he said.

Old jeepney units will either be scrapped or used as private vehicles as long as they are road-worthy, Urbanozo added.

Guidelines for disposal of old jeepney units have yet to be officially released by the board’s central office.

Recently, the board granted the Cordillera Basic Sectors Transport Cooperative a provisional authority for the operation of eight modern PUJ units for Baguio Plaza-Trancoville and vice versa route and seven units for Baguio Plaza-Aurora Hill and vice versa route starting Dec. 9. Fare for the first four kilometers is P11 plus P1.50 to P1.80 for every succeeding kilometer. The provisional authority is valid for one year.

During the forum with the city council, it was agreed upon that the modern jeepney units will only operate on their designated days with respect to the schedules set by the drivers and operators during the community quarantine. – Jordan G. Habbiling