Old jeeps allowed until 2020 if roadworthy

(DG file)

By: Gerome Dalipe

OLD jeepneys can still ply the roads until 2020, the Department of Transportation (DOTr) said.

In a statement, the DOTr, however, clarified that old jeepneys may continue ferrying passengers provided these units are roadworthy.

“To clarify, we shall allow existing PUJs to serve the riding public after June 30, 2020, until the compliant substitute arrives,” the DOTr said in a statement posted.

The DOTr issued the statement after Senators questioned the accomplishment rate of the government’s Public Utility Vehicle Modernization Program (PUVMP).

During the Senate hearing on the agency’s 2020 budget amounting to P147 billion, Sen. Grace Poe, chairperson of the Senate Public Services Committee, said the DOTr has only been able to modernize 2,595 units, or 1.5 percent of its target, since the program was launched in 2017.

“What we said in the Senate yesterday was we will consider not phasing out units of existing operators who fail to meet the July 2020 deadline. We will allow their units to travel as long as these pass the Motor Vehicle Inspection System (MVIS),” said the DOTr statement.

The Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board will then issue a provisional authority (PA) valid for only one year if the old jeepney units pass the MVIS.

The units need to be checked for roadworthiness every year after that and pass MVIS so these can continue to ply the streets, the statement said.

Existing operators need to file a petition for consolidation on or before June 30, 2020 and express their petition to modernize.

If the operators fail to file for consolidation by this date, their route will be opened to all interested applicants and they will no longer enjoy the prior operator rule.

“If they don’t file a petition and they don’t modernize, canceled na ang PA nila (their PA is canceled),” the DOTr statement said.

DOTr said that Secretary Arthur Tugade will continue to implement the PUVMP to ensure a safe public transport system.

The DOTr launched its modernization program in June 2018, which mandates the phaseout of PUVs aged 15 years or older.

The PUV Modernization Program is the flagship non-infrastructure project of the Duterte administration.

It aims at providing a comfortable life for all Filipinos through a safe, reliable, convenient, affordable and environmentally-sustainable public transportation system in the country.

In order to promote safer and more environmentally-friendly transport systems, the government proponents are pushing to replace jeepneys with Euro 4-powered engines or electrically-powered engines with solar panels for roofs.

The proposed modern PUVs should also be outfitted with additional features such as speed limiters, a GPS navigation system, dashboard cameras, an automated fare collection system, Wi-Fi, and closed-circuit television cameras.

The program will also change the franchising system, updates on new routes, and training for drivers. Authorities are also eyeing to modernize not just the jeepneys, but also buses and public utility vans across the country by 2020.