EDITORIAL - It’s time for change
(The Freeman) - June 2, 2020 - 12:00am

While Cebu City was under Enhanced Community Quarantine, plans were already being drawn for the new transportation system under General Community Quarantine (GCQ). One of these plans was to prioritize the operation of modern Public Utility Jeepneys (PUJs).

Now that some form of normalcy is back with the implementation of GCQ, drivers of PUJs that don’t fall under this category are crying foul.

Yesterday, the Pinagkaisang Samahan ng mga Tsuper at Operators Nationwide (PISTON) launched their movement called "Bumusina para sa Balik-Pasada". The group wants all PUJs to be allowed to operate again. With this call came their stand against the PUJ phaseout. 

We understand that these drivers are desperate to earn income to support their families. After all, it’s not easy having no income for two months yet still have your bills and expenses pile up.

However, they also have to understand that it is time to do something about out transport system. Our present fleet of PUJs can no longer handle the riding population, especially during the rush hours.

Many of our PUJs are also old and have many rusting parts that can present dangers to passengers. Others have engines that threaten the environment because of the pollution they cause.

Many of them are not even designed to be used for public conveyance, being vehicles originally built for other purposes but cleverly redesigned to accommodate people, albeit uncomfortably.

The old PUJ was good while the population was still small and the places to get to very few. However, things are different now. In many aspects the older PUJ has just become obsolete.

Another thing that has to be pointed out is that it is actually the best time to introduce changes to our transport system. Students aren’t going to school, some businesses are still closed, and certain age groups are still restricted from leaving their homes.

That means a huge number of the population doesn’t have to use the transport system right now, which means it will allow time for people to get used to the modern PUJ system; the passengers who can use them, the drivers, transport officials, and others. 

As the system is tweaked and kinks ironed out, it will be better by the time those under quarantine restrictions get to use them after their restrictions are eased.

What all these will lead to is a better transport system, certainly nothing at par with the mass transport systems of first-world countries, but definitely something better than our old one.

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