February 1, 2023

There is no stopping the plans of the government in upgrading the transportation system in the country.

Last Dec. 10, 30 units of Class 2 modern jeepneys owned by the Cordillera Basic Sectors Transport Cooperative (CBSTC) have been issued provisional authority (PA) by the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board signaling that it can already begin operating.

A ceremonial awarding of the PA attended by top officials of the LTFRB headed by Chairman Martin Delgra, LTFRB-CAR officials led by OIC Dir. Lalaine Sobremonte, officials of the Office of Transportation Cooperatives, officials of the Cooperative Development Authority, CBSTC drivers-members led by Jude Wal, and Mayor Benjamin Magalong attended the event.

The Cordillera is the sixth region in the country to operate modern jeepneys in time for the Dec. 31 deadline given by the LTFRB for jeepney associations nationwide to consolidate into either a cooperative or corporation – a component of the PUV Modernization Program.

Delgra said he hopes that operation of the modern jeeps will motivate other jeepney associations to pursue with the consolidation and eventual purchase of these jeeps through government financing institutions.

He said the PUV Modernization Program will not only advance the transportation system of the Philippines but also help the environment for all manufacturers are required to install a minimum of Euro-4 compliant engine, or those that are able to meet European Union emission standards.

Delgra said despite apprehensions and protests, the Department of Transportation will proceed with the PUV Modernization Program. He said giving in to calls to suspend the program’s implementation would be unfair to drivers and operators who tried to follow the LTFRB’s timeline, despite the costs involved in transitioning from individual-owned into corporate-owned or cooperative-owned franchises. 

“Hindi parehas sa iba kung suspendihin natin ito samantalang ang iba ay nag-effort na mag-comply,” Delgra told reporters.

Other regions or LGUs that now have modern jeeps are Northern Samar and Tacloban City (Region 8), Roxas City (Region 6), Tabaco City, Albay (Region 5), Montalban, Rizal (Region 4), and Iligan City (Region 10).

Eight units will traverse the Baguio Plaza-Trancoville and vice versa and seven units of the Baguio Plaza-Aurora Hill and vice versa routes, and the rest will cover the Baguio-La Trinidad; Poblacion, Bokod to Ranger Station in Mount Pulag; and Mabaay, Bauko, MPSPC-Tadian routes.

On Dec. 19, the CBSTC will launch the modern jeepneys in Tadian, Mountain Province.

Also this month, the jeeps will be launched in Benguet.

The jeeps, which can accommodate a maximum of 22 passengers will operate on a fleet management system. Meaning, the vehicles will not be roaming around the streets but will stay on their terminal where there will be a set time of departure and arrival. 

While health restrictions are in effect, these jeeps will only accommodate passengers at half of its capacity.

Its drivers will not operate on a boundary system, but will be paid monthly wages.

The jeeps will initially accept cash payments but will soon employ a cashless fare system using Trip Ko cards. Minimum fare is P11 for the first four kilometers plus P1.50 for every succeeding kilometer. 

Class 1 jeeps are nine to 12-seater PUVs, appropriate for areas with narrow roads.

Class 2 and 3 jeeps have a maximum of 23 passengers (including driver) but with ceiling height that will let average Filipinos stand in the middle.

Class 3, are front facing variants. These units are the required replacement for all UV express vehicles. Good for point to point routes because of its more relaxed seating arrangement. Even though its layout is front facing, the vehicles are required to maintain an aisle in the middle and its width is also being measured.

In the PUV Modernization Program, new jeeps should have: increased floor-to-ceiling height, side entrances, CCTV camera, Euro-4 or higher compliant engine, speed limiter, free Wi-Fi, dashboard camera, automated fare collection system (card reader), emergency exits, ramp and space to accommodate persons with disabilities, and air-conditioner. – Rimaliza A. Opiña