Commuters await PUV modernization

As the nationwide transportation strike was staged Monday, the public got a hold of what it looks like having traditional and old-fashioned jeepneys phased out from the roads.

This, as the country is poised to welcome the modern public utility vehicles (PUV) in June 2020.

In an interview with the Philippine News Agency, commuters in the metro expressed positive responses to the proposed transportation set-up.

Anju de Vera, a 25-year-old freelance creative artist, who lives in Mandaluyong and takes public transport to meet clients, said he is looking forward to the modernization of PUVs, although worries about its affordability for the drivers.

“Yes [I’m in favor], as long as di pahirap sa mga jeepney drivers especially sa cost of the upgrade (as long as the jeepney drivers won’t have to suffer so much due to cost of the upgrade),” he said.

The Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) earlier announced it will provide five-percent equity, six-percent interest and a payment period of seven years for the modern jeepneys that cost around PHP1.2 million to PHP1.8 million.

Congress also agreed to provide an PHP80,000 subsidy per unit.

Apart from the price of the new transport system, some are having a hard time accepting that with the modern jeepneys coming in, the traditional ones that served as an "icon" on the roads of the country will no longer be seen.

Austrian businessman Harald Tomintz, who has been staying in the country for 37 years, said: “the [traditional] jeepney will still stay with us for some time but eventually be gone in years to come by slowly getting phased out."

"Perhaps a few of the Jeepneys remain but with the technical upgrade to make them compliant with the times,” he added.

“It’s a good move of the (Department of Transportation) DOTr to modernize the PUV transport system. This is done with foresight and considered future-oriented. Of course, a proper phase in (short- medium - long term) plan be necessary since change can’t be done in a rush. And by doing so the riding public is getting used to and become aware of a more comfortable and environmentally friendly ride,” Tomintz added.

On the other hand, journalist Monsi Serrano, who stays in Paranaque and frequents to Makati to do business, thinks the ‘dated’ jeepneys “are running coffins”.

“There are so many violations with the jeepneys, [there’s] pollution, overloading-- the maximum capacity is not followed. Hence, risks are so high. [It is a] a health hazard,” he said, adding that the PUV modernization has several benefits in the environment and economy.

His colleague, Edd Usman, agreed to this, saying the modernization program is “long-delayed and there’s no reason to delay it further”.

Usman also said that some drivers lack discipline.

“Walang disiplina, sarili lang iniisip. Wala disiplina sa pagda drive, kahit saan kahit sa bawal huminto, hindi naman lahat. Meron pa mga bastos sa pasahero (Some drivers are not disciplined; they only think of themselves. Others would stop wherever even if it’s prohibited. Some are not polite to their passengers too),” he continued.

The PUV modernization program (PUVMP) is a flagship project of the Duterte administration which envisions a restructured, modern, well-managed and environmentally sustainable transport sector where drivers and operators have stable, sufficient and dignified livelihoods while commuters get to their destinations quickly, safely and comfortably.

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