IN AN EFFORT to bring the PUV Modernization Program down to the grassroots level, the Department of Transportation and the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board launched last July 4, 2019 a nationwide Modern PUV Caravan 2019 dubbed “Modern PUV: Arangkada ng PagbabagoTungosaKaunlaran.”
THE MODERN PUV CARAVAN
So far, it has completed Phase 1 that covered ten cities in Luzon north of Metro Manila and is now on Phase 2 that will cover nine cities in Mindanao. The Mindanao leg kicked off last September 2 at General Santos City during the Tuna Festival. Next stop was Tagum City.
DOTrUsec. for Land Transport Mark de Leon says that once completed, the Caravan will have covered some 32 major cities in seven months.
“The PUVMP is probably the biggest non-infrastructure program of the Duterte administration. We are happy that in this endeavor, we have the full support of the stakeholders from the private sector. Aside from the LTFRB, also part of the Caravan from the public sector are the Land Transportation Office, Office of Transportation Cooperatives and the lending institutions Landbank and the Development Bank of the Philippines”.
The third stop last Sept 12 in Cotabato City was a major activity under the new Bangsamoro Autonomous Region of Muslim Mindanao (BARMM). It will then proceed to Pagadian City, Cagayan de Oro City, Valencia City, Butuan City, Tandag City and finally Surigao City to complete the Mindanao phase.
Phase 3 of the Caravan will island hop six cities in the Visayas in November and Phase 4 will go through nine cities in Luzon south of Metro Manila in January 2020.
LTFRB Chairman Atty. Martin Delgra III reveals that the Caravan will introduce the Modern PUV to potential PUVMP participants outside of Metro Manila.
“They are not fully aware of the provisions of the PUVMP, have not seen what a Modern PUV looks like, what brands and models are available, what gadgets are required, how to avail of the subsidy and bank loans and even how to form and register a transport cooperative. These concerns we will address through the Caravan as we go on one-day stops in each city visited. More so, the millions of commuters across the country will appreciate up close and personal the modern, safe, environment-friendly and convenient Modern PUVs under the PUVMP”.
Delgra explains that the demo units of the Modern PUV are powered by either Euro 4 compliant diesel engines or electric motors and are compliant to the PNS standards for body dimensions of the Bureau of Philippine Standards.
“They will also be equipped with the required gadgets such as the automated fare collection system and will be exhibited nationwide for one day each in some 34 cities in Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao”.
Usec. de Leon states that the Caravan will shift into high gear the implementation of the much-awaited PUV Modernization Program.
“This is the much-needed shot in the arm that the PUVMP needs. Since we will bring to the Caravan site the transport corporations and cooperatives that will participate in the PUVMP, we expect the Caravan to be able to address any issues or concerns that they may have. This will then result in opening the floodgates for the shift from the old traditional PUJs to the upgraded Modern PUV outside of Metro Manila”.
In explaining the PUV Modernization Program further, Usec. de Leon adds that aside from modernizing the existing fleet to environmentally-compliant vehicles and converting them to roadworthy vehicles, part of the PUVM Program is to consolidate the existing operators into either transport cooperatives or corporations.
“The root cause of the problem of these land public transport vehicles is that there are just too many operators per route. These operators run their units without any semblance of a dispatching and fleet monitoring system. Drivers operate and dispatch at their own whim”.
He reveals that drivers have to compete with each other to survive.
“One driver honestly told a reporter recently, ‘kailangan ko box-out ang kalaban’, referring to their driving behavior where they do not load and unload properly, intentionally blocking the lane of other PUV units so he can have the waiting commuters to themselves. This results to safety concerns with drivers speeding and to the inefficiency, unresponsiveness, and unreliability of public transportation”.
Usec. de Leon also touched on the unreliability of rides as drivers still run on daily boundary basis.
“Because the driver has to meet his daily boundary as his top priority, he has no intention to fulfill his duty of providing public transport”.
“People think improving land public transportation is that easy. In reality, policies encounter injunctions and resistance however noble the purpose is. Public transport operators think they own the franchise. We will need to disabuse their minds and let them realize that a franchise is just a privilege granted by the State to financially-able citizens of the Philippines”.
Usec. de Leon ends with a plea to the public to support the PUVMP.
“Together, let us help improve our commuting experience. The PUVMP is a major step towards that direction, let us all take it.”