Traditional jeepney phaseout continues amid crisis

Department of Transportation (DOTr) official said Monday that Traditional jeepney phaseout would continue despite the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) crisis in the Philippines and ban of jeepney during general community quarantine in Metro Manila. 

Alberto Suansing, the senior consultant for DOTr, said in an interview with “The Chiefs” on One News that the phaseout of old jeepneys would push through this 2020. 

Traditional jeepney phaseout continues amid crisis
A traditional jeepney in the Philippines (Image from mrpickles015 – WordPress.com)

“It’s true that there is a to phase out traditional jeepneys, and they knew it will come because since 2017, we have been talking with the jeepney operators and their leaders,” Suansing said.

Jeepney operators were given three years to comply with the government’s public utility vehicle (PUV) modernization program, he added.

“Before the COVID-19 situation, they were given until June 30 to consolidate their franchises and start forming a legal entity like a cooperative. The LTFRB will issue one franchise for them. We told them if they can’t consolidate their franchise, then they lose the chance of being given another franchise to operate in that route,” Suansing said.

He, however, clarified that old jeepney operators and drivers could still operate this year if the government would extend the deadline until December.

According to Suansing, there are more than 2,000 modernized jeepneys in Metro Manila.

Also read: MMDA blames commuters for transport chaos

Fate of traditional jeepney phaseout still unknown under GCQ

Under DOTr’s guidelines for the road transport sector, Public Utility Buses (PUBs), modern PUVs, and UV Express will already be allowed to operate, also with limited passenger capacity during Phase 2, which covers June 22 to 30.

Transport officials said that by then, modernized jeepneys would be prioritized than the old ones.

“We will do certain adjustments. One of the considerations is to implement phase two at an earlier period,” he said.

Meanwhile, authorities arrested six members of the militant transport group PISTON yesterday for holding a protest along EDSA in Caloocan yesterday.

At least 30 jeepney drivers joined the protest, demanding assistance from the government that banned them from operating despite the GCQ. 

PISTON deputy secretary-general Ruben Baylon, who was among those arrested, said the police charge them with disobedience and social distancing violations.

“They were arrested while airing their grievances. The police should be sensitive enough to understand that these drivers, who are jobless for three months already, have legitimate demands,” George San Mateo, the group’s national president, said.