By Alexandria San Juan
Barely a year left until the full-blown implementation of the public utility vehicle (PUV) modernization program, transport regulators said only more than two percent of the 170,000 jeepneys nationwide are currently operating as new and modernized units.
According to Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) Technical Division chief Joel Bolano, out of the at least 170,000 public utility jeepneys nationwide, 17,000 PUVMP-compliant units were already awarded to different transport service cooperatives.
However, of these 17,000 only more than 4,000 are operational as new units.
“As of today, if we are talking about the units, more or less 4,000 new units are already operational nationwide,” Bolano said.
This was revealed during a press conference at the LTFRB office on Monday in time with the transport protest staged by members of Pinagkaisang Samahan ng mga Tsuper at Operator Nationwide (PISTON) and Alliance of Concerned Transport Organizations (ACTO) against the administration’s PUV Modernization Program.
With the slow turn out of modernized and compliant PUJs, LTFRB member Ronaldo Corpus is blaming the lack of supply of units to operators.
“What we are seeing that there is a problem on the supply side. Numbers of suppliers manufacturing the modernized units are inadequate,” Corpus said in an interview.
While the LTFRB officials admitted that there’s still a lot work to do to place all PUJs under PUVMP, they are optimistic that before the timeline of June 30, 2020 set by the government, PUJs are already modernized.
Corpus also urged other operators to support the program and consolidate their franchise or the merging of smaller transport industry players to form into a consortium either by forming cooperatives or corporations which is also a requirement set by the government and other banks.
“If they are not yet consolidated by June 30, 2020, we will open the awarded routes to those interested applicants with compliant units,” Corpuz added.