Cebu News

Few traditional PUJs return to city's streets

Sanden J. Anadia - The Freeman

CEBU, Philippines —  Over a thousand traditional public utility jeepneys (TPUJs) have returned to operations in the streets of Cebu City since the Balik Pasada Program was launched in October last year.

 Councilor James Cuenco, chairman of the program, said that several TPUJ units did not pass the roadworthiness test while other operators have already shifted to modernized jeepney units.

  Cuenco said that since the Balik Pasada Program started, 1,420 TPUJ units were granted a permit to operate.

“Sa pagkakaron dili pa gyud igo ang gidaghanon kay makita man nato nga daghan pa gyud ang mga pasahero nga maglisod og sakay,” Cuenco said.

Cebu City used to have at least 5,000 traditional PUJs plying the streets before the pandemic.

Cuenco said they are still processing applications for the Balik Pasada Program until now. According to him, they will allow more TPUJs to operate provided that the units will pass the screening.

TPUJs are also required to have proper ventilation, disinfection after every trip, and maintain social distancing.

According to Cuenco, there were over 2,000 applications that were turned down because of roadworthiness issue.

“Kasagaran gyud sa mga karaan nga traditional PUJs  kay nangalata na kay dugay na nga wala kabiyahe,” he explained.

There were also delays in the processing of some applications due to quarantine restrictions. TPUJ drivers are required to complete a seminar before they are granted permit to operate.

To encourage more applicants, the city government has waived the required swab test for full vaccinated drivers. Cuenco encouraged all the PUJ drivers to get vaccinated against COVID-19. They may visit the drive-thru vaccination site for transportation sector located at the NOAH Complex at the South Road Properties (SRP).

Cuenco, who is the chairman of the public transportation committee of the City Council, said he is also open to increasing the minimum capacity of public utility vehicles, from 70% to 80%, depending on the recommendation of the Emergency Operations Center (EOC).

Drivers of traditional jeepneys have since cried for help after being jobless for more than a year now since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. — FPL (FREEMAN)


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