These e-jeepneys are among the 298 modern public utility vehicles launched yesterday by the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board in Central Visayas.
Aldo Nelbert Banaynal
“Golden age” of transport system starts
Mitchelle L. Palaubsanon (The Freeman) - July 12, 2019 - 12:00am

CEBU, Philippines — Close to 300 modern public utility vehicles would be plying the streets of Cebu starting today. The launching of the modernized PUV is described by Presidential Assistant for the Visayas Michael Lloyd Dino as the start of the golden age of Cebu’s transportation system.

The Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board in Central Visayas yesterday granted provisional authority to operate 298 PUVs, including 250 taxi units for the entire region. The granting of the provisional authority was announced during the "Public Utility Vehicles Modernization Program Simultaneous Launch" yesterday.

LTFRB-7 Director Eduardo Montealto Jr. said 23 point-to-point buses would be serving the routes from Cebu City to Sibonga, Cebu City to Lapu-Lapu City, and Cebu City to Danao City. There would be 25 electronic jeepneys within the Lapu-Lapu City loop.

According to Montealto, an additional of 87 buses, 50 taxi units, and 75 e-jeeps are expected to arrive in Cebu within the year. The e-jeepneys have free wi-fi, charging ports, fan cooling system, cushion seats, and dash cams. It has a capacity of 30 passengers each.

Point-to-point buses and modern taxi units also feature an automatic fare collection system, wi-fi, dash cam, speed limiter, GPS and tracker. Montealto added that six buses have its own comfort room.

"The President’s PUV Modernization Program is already long overdue. Its first implementation in the Yolanda-stricken Tacloban City in 2018 paved the way for the PUV Modernization for the whole country," said Dino.

How It came about

Dino said the PUV modernization program started when he visited Tacloban City to assist President Rodrigo Duterte during the latter’s visit to the victims of Super Typhoon Yolanda.

"I was in Tacloban to assist President Duterte when he came to visit the Yolanda victims.  They already needed to move to the relocation sites that time for health and safety reasons but they were hesitant to move there because, among other things, there was still no electricity and the sites were far from the city proper," he said.

 Duterte ordered him to facilitate and effect the relocation within 18 days and address all their concerns.

"So to address the accessibility issue of the relocation site, I requested CERES Bus Liner to lend us buses for the transportation of the displaced families. Tungod kini kay layo ang relocation site ug wala sad PUV nga gaserbisyo sa maong ruta," Dino recalled as he addressed the PUV operators and drivers during the launching event yesterday.

Dino said they took advantage of the situation by piloting the PUV modernization program to ensure that the relocation site is served by public transportation.

"So that is how the PUV Modernization Program in the country started in the Visayas.  Tacloban City first experienced PUV Modernization which became the model for the nationwide implementation.  Sometimes, it is really in destruction that we see the opportunity to rebuild and effect change for the better," Dino added.

It started with 45 units of solar E-jeepneys, which are equipped with dash cams, CCTV cameras and automatic fare collection system. They found the system to be effective and way better than the existing means of transportation.

 "Nalipay ang mga Taclobanon sa maong proyekto kay ang Modern PUVs dili lang nindot og features, maayo sad ang sistema sa pagpadagan ani tungod kay naka schedule na ang oras sa pag biyahe maong ang mga pasahero motuod na lang sa oras sa pagbiyahe," he added.

The initial 45 later became 150 units because the people of Tacloban saw that the modernized PUVs are better means of transportation.

Protests delay program implementation

According to Dino, the nationwide implementation of the program had been delayed because of protests from operators and drivers. 

"But because of political will, this administration has made it a point to consider all aspects that might be affected by this PUV Modernization, and addressing the fears of our existing operators and drivers," Dino said.

Dino said that modern transport system is also more advantageous for public health. He is also looking forward to the implementation of Cebu Integrated Intermodal Transport System, which incorporates modern PUVs as feeder routes to the rail system.

 "We want the people of Cebu to start experiencing the comfort of having an IITS. This is long overdue,” Dino said. —  FPL (FREEMAN)

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