Consultation on public transport modernization underway

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BAGUIO CITY  – Regional transport officials are now going around the Cordillera to conduct consultations on the eventual implementation of the modernization of public utility jeepneys (PUJs) for the safety and convenience of the commuting public.

Engr. Robert Allan Santiago, officer-in-charge of the Cordillera office of the Department of Transportation (DOTR-CAR), said that on May 28, regional transportation officials will be in Luna, Apayao to conduct consultations on the issues and concerns related to the implementation of the PUJ modernization, after completing the consultations in other urban centers in the region.

He pointed out the agency will consolidate the suggestions and recommendations of the various transport groups from the different parts of the region on the eventual implementation of the PUJ modernization before this is submitted to the central office for the possible adjustment of the rules and regulations crafted for the said purpose.

The DOTR-CAR official noted the clamor of Cordillera PUJ operators and drivers for a change in the design of the proposed PUJ and the power of its engine as the terrain of the Cordillera was not considered by manufacturers in the design of the modern PUJ.

“We found that the different transport groups in the region support the implementation of the modernization of our passenger jeepneys, provided that, the modern jeep will be designed pursuant to the terrain of the region,” Santiago stressed.

The DOTR-CAR official disclosed that the implementation of the PUJ modernization was moved to June 2020 thus there is time to collect suggestions and recommendations of the transport sector on how to effectively and efficiently ensure the compliance of the operators and drivers to the government’s modernization program.

According to him, operators of PUJs are now being required to sign an undertaking prior to the registration of their jeepneys to ensure their compliance once the government will fully implement the modernization program by the middle of next year.

He explained that the reason for the existence of old and dilapidated jeepneys on the streets is the absence of a prescribed limit to the number of years that the PUJs will operate, unlike public buses which are only allowed to operate for a maximum of 10 years, and taxis where their period to operate is fixed at 13 years plus an added extension of 2 years.

Santiago called on operators and drivers regionwide to freely provide the agency with their suggestions and recommendations on how the agency will implement the PUJ modernization to avoid opposition from the concerned stakeholders once it is implemented, and for the safety and convenience of passengers.

The agency was supposed to implement the PUJ modernization program this year but it was compelled to move the period of implementation for another year to allow concerned stakeholders to comply with the prescribed standards of the modern jeepney taking into consideration the appropriate inputs from the directly affected sector.

The government’s modernization program is primarily geared towards helping improve the overall state of the country’s transport sector with due consideration for the safety and convenience of commuters. By Dexter A. See

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