AROUND 300 modern public utility vehicles are now plying the streets of Metro Cebu and Mactan Island after the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) and the Department of Transportation (DOTr) kicked off the “One Time Big Time” simultaneous nationwide launch of the transport modernization program on Thursday, July 11, 2019.
The new vehicles will add to the 34,000 public utility vehicles (PUV) in Central Visayas.
Presidential Assistant for the Visayas Michael Dino said this is the first step in the implementation of the Integrated Intermodal Transport System (IITS) in Cebu.
On Thursday morning, 23 hybrid point-to-point buses, 250 modernized taxis and 25 solar-powered e-jeepneys were launched as part of the Public Utility Vehicle Modernization Program (PUVMP) nationwide launch held at the SM City Cebu.
The 25 e-jeepneys are now plying the streets of Lapu-Lapu City and Cordova, while the 23 hybrid buses are now traveling the Cebu-Danao route in northern Cebu and Cebu-Sibonga route in southern Cebu, LTFRB 7 Director Eduardo Montealto Jr. said.
The 250 modernized taxis in Cebu will add to the existing 5,000 units plying Cebu’s streets.
All the modern PUVs were issued a provisional authority by the LTFRB 7.
In Cebu, 510 modern vehicles will be rolled out from Thursday to June 2020.
Montealto said the remaining 87 hybrid buses, 50 modern taxis and 75 e-jeepneys will be available before the full implementation of the PUVMP in 2020.
A GPS tracker, dash cameras, automatic fare collection system and speed limiter are among the features of the modernized taxi.
Dino, who was the guest of honor at the Cebu launch, said this is the first step in the implementation of the IITS in Cebu.
“We aim to incorporate these modern PUVs as feeder routes to the rail system, which is the backbone of the IITS. During our consultative meeting with (DOTr) Secretary (Arthur) Tugade, he ordered that the IITS be at least partially operational by 2021, and this launching of the modernized PUVs is the start of the golden age of Cebu’s transportation system,” Dino said.
Montealto said the more than 11,000 public utility jeepneys (PUJs) will not be phased out but will be modernized instead.
There are about 8,000 PUJs in Cebu and about 11,800 in the entire Central Visayas, the LTFRB said.
Inayawan Transport Cooperative (Intrasco) operator Guillermo Carsano Jr. said they support the PUV modernization program of the government because this is for their own good and they also want to help the environment.
“We will adopt the plan of the government to modernize vehicles because this is for our own good. These new vehicles don’t easily break down. Even our kids will see our new vehicles. What this government is doing now is much better,” Carsano said.
The e-jeepneys now running in Lapu-Lapu City have an electric fan, charging ports and WiFi powered by solar panels.
Each unit can carry 24 people. It will charge the same fare as the old jeepneys.
The LTFRB targets to have the modern jeepneys in Barangay Inayawan and Colon Street in Cebu City before 2020. (From HBL of SuperBalita Cebu, VLA)