LTFRB to transport groups: consolidate now, change units later

The Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board – Regional Office advised the associations of public utility jeepney (PUJ) drivers and operators in the city to expedite their application for franchise consolidation. The board also clarified that the transport groups may be granted a deadline extension for the transition of their traditional units to modern ones.
Under the Public Utility Vehicle Modernization Program (PUVMP), PUV operators are obliged to be members of a cooperative or a corporation for the consolidation of their franchises. The cooperative or the corporation becomes a juridical entity that owns a single franchise and operates on a specific route.
One requirement for the franchise consolidation is the replacement of traditional jeepneys to modernized units that are Euro-4 compliant. Previously, several transport groups lodged a petition against the PUV Modernization Program claiming that their livelihood will end by December 31 of this year if they fail to comply with the requisites of the PUV modernization program. Atty. Laird Dionel N. Urbanozo, a representative from the LTFRB- Regional Office, clarified that transport groups are allowed to consolidate even if they have not yet replaced their traditional units as long as they file a motion for extension addressed to the regional director stating therein the justifiable reasons for the delay.
The city council then passed a resolution supporting the call for the deadline extension in order to give ample time for PUJ drivers and operators to replace their units. Many PUJ associations in the city, however, are having a hard time complying with the requirements of franchise consolidation.
Urbanozo stressed that jeepney associations, although still allowed to consolidate after the deadline, may lose their privilege to be prioritized to operate on their own routes as other compliant cooperatives may apply for their slots. They will later on be considered as new entrants for the bidding, Urbanozo added.
“Under the circular, if they do not consolidate after the deadline, they will be considered new entrants already and they lose their preference over the route,” he explained. Old jeepney units will either be scrapped or used as private vehicles as long as they are roadworthy, Urbanozo further explained.
However, guidelines for disposal of old jeepney units have yet to be officially released by the board’s central office. Recently, the board granted the Cordillera Basic Sectors Transport Cooperative (CBSTC) a provisional authority for the operation of 8 brand new modern PUJ units for Baguio Plaza – Trancoville and vice versa route and 7 brand new units for Baguio Plaza – Aurora Hill and vice versa route starting December 9, 2020 with the existing fare matrix of P11 for the first 4 kilometers plus P1.50 to P1.80 for every succeeding kilometer.
The provisional authority is valid for a period of one year. During the forum with the city council, it was agreed upon that these modern jeepney units will only operate on their designated days with respect to the schedules set by the drivers and operators during the community quarantine.
The city council stressed that a public consultation should have been conducted as the riding public, aside from the PUJ operators and drivers, are the ones affected by the PUV modernization program.
Jordan G. Habbiling/ABN

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