'Last trip': Individual traditional jeepneys to stop operations after June 30

James Relativo - Philstar.com
'Last trip': Individual traditional jeepneys to stop operations after June 30
Daily commuters pay for their jeepney fare in Marikina on Thursday, June 9, 2022.
THE STAR / Walter Bollozos

MANILA, Philippines — Individual operators of traditional jeepneys will no longer be allowed to continue their operations after June 30, 2023 — unless they start joining a cooperative or a corporation.

The Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) shared this after approving Memorandum Circular 2023-013 last Monday, a move done amidst the calls of various transport groups and commuters to stop the much assailed phaseout of traditional jeeps.

"Individual operators may continue to operate by virtue of a [provisional authority], which is automatically extended until 30 June 2023 under this Memorandum Circular," said members of the board last Monday.

"Individual operators may join an existing consolidated entity until 30 June 2023. Only those individual operators who are able to join an existing consolidated entity on or before 30 June 2023 shall be allowed to have their PA extended until 31 December 2023."

The provisional authority of individual traditional jeeps in the National Capital Region was originally set to expire last April. The LTFRB earlier said the extension was already the "fourth and last time."

For routes without a "consolidated entity" (cooperative or corporation) or filed application for franchise consolidation, its application will only be entertained until October 31.

LTFRB chairperson earlier said that only 60% of the target number of vehicles for modernization have complied with the requirements under the program such as industry consolidation into cooperatives. The remaining 40% continue to ply routes using traditional jeepneys.

Cooperatives are being pushed at the moment to enable operators to afford the purchase of "modern jeeps" said to be worth at least P2.6 million each via loans from financial institutions.

The certificate of public conveyance (franchise) of individual operators who fail to join the exiasting consolidated entity after June shall be reverted to the State.

'High costs' of modernization prohibitive to operators

Mody Floranda, national president of transport group PISTON, last February 6 earlier explained that many jeepney operators continue to avoid entering into the PUV Modernization Program because of the high costs to change their vehicles, besides the posibility of losing their livelihood once they enter the franchise consolidation.

Floranda said that a reasonable way for the Department of Transportation and LTFRB to handle said concerns is to fully suspend the implementation of the DOTr Department Order 2017-011, which stipulates the rules and requirements of the PUVMP, and all its supplementing LTFRB memoranda while conducting a thorough review of the program.

"In the process of reviewing the whole program of modernization, the government must ensure that all jeepney drivers and small operators are consulted," he said in Filipino.

"Thousands of jobs are at stake, so it's important that we work together with the state in identifying how a proper transition towards modernization could be justly undertaken."

PISTON reiterated that they do not oppose modernizing traditional jeeps as long as the modernization program ensures and prioritizes a "fair and just transition for transport workers and all affected vulnerable sectors."

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