More vehicles on the road is imminent even before implementation of the public utility vehicle modernization program.
This was the clarification made by Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board head of the Transportation and Development Office Dionel Laird Urbanozo when asked at the city council about traditional PUJs adding to the already congested roads of Baguio when they operate as private vehicles.
“Even before the PUV Modernization Program, dumadami talaga ang sasakyan,” said Urbanozo, as he clarified that based on their franchises, PUVs are limited to operate for a certain number of years only.
“Taxis for instance may operate for only 13 years,” Urbanozo added.
These vehicles, while they may no longer be allowed to operate as a public conveyance, are permitted on the roads as long as they are still roadworthy.
In the PUV modernization program, PUV operators are required to consolidate into either a cooperative or a corporation.
Substitution from the traditional to modern jeeps equipped with a global navigation system, closed-circuit camera, automated fare collection system, and Euro 4 compliant engines is the other component of the program.
Urbanozo said in the absence of an order by the LTFRB on when the phasing out of traditional jeepneys will commence, roadworthy PUJs that have been enlisted into a cooperative or corporation will still be permitted to operate.
“The deadline is only for the consolidation but the substitution (to the modern units) is still suspended,” Urbanozo informed the city council.
He also debunked observations that the modern jeeps are not designed for the terrain of the Cordillera.
Urbanozo said there are different types of modern jeeps to choose from. Class 1 is designed for small cities and could fit 12 passengers; class 2 jeeps can accommodate 22 seated passengers, has headroom for standing passengers; class 3 is with forward facing seats and is designed for inter-city transport; and class 4 are those that will ply rural towns to larger cities. It has provisions for cargo and has forward facing seats for passengers.
The traditional design of jeepneys may also be retained as long as these are compliant with Philippine National Standards, Urbanozo said.
Consolidated operators in Baguio is now at 94.39 percent. – Rimaliza A. Opiña