Not enough passengers: PUJs still canât ply Cebu City
"Because as of now, it was taken up during the meeting, nga if we will allow the traditional jeepney to ply the city streets at this point in time, ang ilang study nagpakita man nga there are not enough passengers, there are not enough commuters, kay kahibawo bitaw ta nga ato mang gi-divide ang atong mga tawo nga makagawas," Labella said.
STAR/Michael Varcas, file
Not enough passengers: PUJs still can’t ply Cebu City
Mary Ruth R. Malinao (The Freeman) - September 16, 2020 - 12:00am

CEBU, Philippines —  The number of commuters in Cebu City is not enough for authorities to allow public utility jeepneys to return to the streets at this point in time, Mayor Edgardo Labella said yesterday. 

Cebu City is under modified general community quarantine (MGCQ) for the rest of September.

"Because as of now, it was taken up during the meeting, nga if we will allow the traditional jeepney to ply the city streets at this point in time, ang ilang study nagpakita man nga there are not enough passengers, there are not enough commuters, kay kahibawo bitaw ta nga ato mang gi-divide ang atong mga tawo nga makagawas," Labella said.

(As of now, as taken up during the meeting, a study has shown that there are not enough passengers, there are not enough commuters in the streets at this point in time because we have divided the number of those who can go out.)

Even under MGCQ, quarantine passes are still required in the city. Residents are allowed to go out on specific days depending on the code in their quarantine pass.

Labella attended a meeting with the transport group, Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board in Central Visayas (LTFRB-7), Councilor Joel Garganera, and other stakeholders yesterday, September 15, to discuss the city’s local public transport route plan (LPTRP).

Labella cited a research of LTFRB-7, which found that it is only during peak hours that most commuters take public transportation, and only a few travel the rest of the day.

"They are considering nga because of the lack of number of passengers, commuters, mao na nga di sa nila kuno. But that's part of the study of the LPTRP," Labella said.

Labella said a technical working group is set to submit the LPTRP not later than October 15 so the city will know the impact of the traffic situation and the number of transportation facilities that will be used.  

"Eventually, og ang recommendation unya sufficient na, we will slowly and gradually phase out na nato ang buses so that they can go back to the provinces," Labella said.

(Eventually, when the recommendation is that the number of commuters is already sufficient, we will phase out the buses slowly and gradually so these can go back to the provinces.)

Architect Ann Marie Cuizon of the City Planning and Development Office said they have been working on the LPTRP since early this year but work was hampered by the pandemic.

"Despite of this, since we don't see this as permanent, we will still come up with a really good transportation system that includes the BRT (Bus Rapid Transit)," said Cuizon.

"It's not just about establishing the routes-- to improve the movement here in Cebu City, and to be able to also go sustainable. These routes also help to achieve nga, someday, people will really ride more public transportation rather than using their cars for some destinations. It will really help promote our city to become more healthy in the sense that fewer and fewer cars are expected to ply on the streets because we have really good public transportation system," she said.

Vehicle Shift

Meanwhile, LTFRB-7 disclosed that majority of the operators of traditional jeepneys are already dropping their old units and shifting to modernized jeepneys.

“Di man sa ingon nga mawala na ang mga jeepneys; naa man gihapon but modernized na,” said LTFRB-7 Director Eduardo Montealto, Jr.

(It’s not like the jeepneys will be phased out; they would still be there but the modernized units.)

Montealto said he has signed a provisional authority to a transport cooperative for 50 units of modernized jeepney to operate in Cebu City and Mandaue City.

These 50 units are on top of the current 117 units that are operating in the two cities and in Lapu-Lapu City. Forty of the 117 units are in Cebu City.

“Di kay mao ra ni. Almost every day or every week, naa koy aprubahan nga mga bag-ong provisional authority aron maka-operate ang mga modern jeepneys,” Montealto said.

(It’s not only these. Almost every day or every week, I will be approving provisional authorities so that the modern jeepneys can operate.)

He explained that majority of the traditional jeepney operators have formed a cooperative, has consolidated, and has formed a corporation so they can make a loan from a bank to purchase the modernized jeepney, which costs between P1.5 million to P2.4 million each.

He said that for every unit approved and purchased by a cooperative, the government will give them a subsidy of P160,000.

“Ang ilang mga karaan nga jeepney units, inig-drop ana as a public utility vehicle, automatic na siyang mahimong private vehicle. Unya, pwede pud na nila ibaligya sa junkshop unya ang halin ana, adto na sa padung sa operator,” Montealto said.

(When they dropped their old jeepneys as public utility vehicles, these automatically become private vehicles. They can sell these to the junkshop and the sale will go to the operator.)

The deadline for consolidation was supposed to be last June 30, 2020 but this was moved to December 30, 2020 because of the pandemic.

Aside from the modernized jeepneys, there are currently 268 buses travelling in the three urbanized cities.

“Di man ni forever nga di nato dungagan ang atong mga pampublikong sakyanan. As of now man gud, wala pa tay crossing borders. Gamay na lang sakripisyo og pasudlan na ni namo. Pero sa pagkakaron, dili pa mahimo kay naa pay pandemic. We are still under quarantine,” Montealto said.

(We can’t not add more to our public utility vehicles forever. Only that we can’t cross borders for now. A little more sacrifice and we will open the borders, but we can’t do that now because the pandemic is still there. We are still under quarantine.) — Mitchelle L. Palaubsanon, JMO

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