BDO enters into loan agreement to finance modern jeepneys

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BDO Leasing and Finance, Inc. (BDOLF) has entered into a loan agreement to finance public utility jeepneys in line with the government’s jeepney modernization program.

In a disclosure, BDOLF said it partnered with fleet management firm Transport Equipment Aggregator and Management, Inc. (1-TEAM) to provide funding for five units of modern jeepneys dubbed as BEEP or “Bagong Jeepney.”

“BDOLF became the first privately-owned financial institution in the country to enter into a loan agreement to finance modern public utility jeepneys,” BDO Unibank, Inc.’s subsidiary told the Philippine Stock Exchange.

Currently, state-owned lenders Land Bank of the Philippines and Development Bank of the Philippines are the only two banks that have allocated funding specifically for the jeepney modernization program.

1-TEAM is the first and only fleet management company in the country to consolidate 30 jeepneys under a single fleet system. Its services include the provision of logistical support, manpower selection and training, equipment repair and maintenance as well as operation of public land transport services.

The BEEP units are air-conditioned and will be equipped with safety features such as speed limiter, closed-circuit television camera and global positioning system and among others. With a size almost as big as a mini-bus, the units can seat 24 passengers and will be outfitted with an automated fare collection system.

The BEEP units will be supplied by IKK Ichigan, Inc.

The modern jeepneys will be plying the routes from various SM Mall Terminals. At present, 1-TEAM’s fleet of jeepneys are already providing shuttle services from SM City Baguio, SM City Clark, SM City Marikina, SM City Sta. Mesa and SM City Fairview to various end points.

Under the jeepney modernization program, the government plans to replace all jeepneys aged 15 years or older with environment-friendly units equipped with safety features. Based on an initial study done by the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board, around 180,000 jeepneys will be phased out.

The plan drew flak from some jeepney operators, as numerous transport strikes were staged against it.

BDOLF posted a net income of P570 million in 2017, flat from the bottom line it saw the previous year, as its higher gross revenues were tempered by higher funding and operating costs. — Karl Angelo N. Vidal