The government has confirmed that old and decrepit jeepneys will be phased out from January.
Despite protests against the long-delayed jeepney modernisation programme, operators of the offending vehicles have until January to get off the road.
“The goal is to carry out what the president said — that by January, deteriorated vehicles will be phased out,” Transport Undersecretary Thomas Orbos said. “We will start with public transportation. That is the start of the modernisation programme.”
The Land Transportation Office (LTO), which is responsible for regulating private vehicles, will also take cars that don’t pass emissions standards off the road from the same date.
The modernisation plan is expected take about 180,000 jeepneys off the road to be replaced by newer “green” models.
While the programme is intended to decrease air pollution, jeepney drivers say it does not consider the costs that operators and users will have to bear.
Writing on Facebook in September, the Stop and Go Transport Collective said: “Not only will they get our jeep, they will also bury us in debt.”
Along with the phaseout of the old jeepneys, transport chiefs are also working on a “route rationalisation plan”.
Currently, bus and jeepney routes are only loosely regulated, allowing operators to take whatever routes they want, and to pick up and drop off passengers at any point along the journey.
“On EDSA, there are now 4,000 buses when in reality it can only accommodate 1,000. That’s where route rationalisation can make it more efficient and could help ease traffic,” Mr Orbos said. The route rationalisation plan would regulate public vehicle routes, and the number of jeepneys and buses that would be allowed on those routes.
Addressing jeepney drivers last month, President Duterte said: “If you don’t modernise, get out. You’re poor? Son of a bitch, live with the hardship and hunger, I don’t care.”