MODERNIZED public utility jeepneys (PUJs) will start hitting the road on a route within Pasay City on Monday, the Department of Transportation (DoTr) said.
In a statement, DoTr said it has allowed Senate Employees Transport Service Cooperative (SETSCO) to deploy 15 of 35 modernized PUJs starting Monday afternoon.
“The Department of Transportation (DoTr), through the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB), gave the green light to the Senate Employees Transport Service Cooperative (SETSCO) to roll out their new public utility jeepneys (PUJs), which are compliant under the PUV Modernization Program,” it said.
The service is for passengers traveling the loop encompassing the Cultural Center of the Philippines (CCP) and the Philippine International Convention Center (PICC), the Government Service Insurance System (GSIS) and SM Mall of Asia, to the Parañaque Integrated Terminal Exchange (PITX) and back.
DoTr said SETSCO is one of the three cooperatives chosen to join the early launch of the PUV modernization program (PUVMP). It added that SETSCO was able to secure a loan from the Development Bank of the Philippines for its fleet.
The modernization program is a government project that aims to decongest roads through route rationalization, while modernizing jeepney fleets. Drivers and operators were given three years to replace jeepney units 15 years and older with e-jeepneys. Loans were offered by the government through the Landbank of the Philippines and the Development Bank of the Philippines for the transition.
Transport groups have repeatedly protested the implementation of the modernization program because of its costs to the drivers and operators. But Transportation Secretary Arthur P. Tugade maintained his position and said the protests would not stop him from pursuing the plan.
LTFRB Chairman Martin B. Delgra III was quoted in the statement as saying, “PUVMP is possible. We are supportive of cooperatives as long as they qualify and have a proper route. In the end they are the ones who will benefit from this].”
Transportation Undersecretary for Road Transport and Infrastructure Thomas M. Orbos added that modern PUJs kept in mind the needs of senior citizens and persons with disabilities.
“Modern public transport shouldn’t only be safe and comfortable. It must be for all. When I say all, this includes senior citizens or the elderly and persons with disabilities,” he was quoted as saying. — Denise A. Valdez