AN OFFICIAL of the Cebu Integrated Transport Cooperative (Citrasco) supports the government’s Omnibus Franchise Guidelines (OFG) where all public utility jeepneys (PUJs) will be replaced by modern jeepneys by June 2020.
Citrasco chairman Benjamin Ryan Yu, however, is doubtful that transport operators can meet the June 2020 deadline for all units to be compliant with OFG.
Earlier, Director Eduardo Montealto Jr. of the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board 7 said all public utility vehicles (PUVs) including buses, vans, jeepneys, school service and taxis that have not complied with the OFG will not be allowed to run by July 2020.
Yu said the government must first address the problems before it implements total modernization. Otherwise, it will send the transport sector into chaos or bankrupt some operators, he said.
Yu pointed out that modern buses and jeepneys are expensive, with prices ranging from P1.4 million to P3 million.
Yet the Land Bank of the Philippines and the Development Bank of the Philippines have only over P1 billion for this program, and there are around 250,000 PUVs nationwide that need to be replaced, he said.
The amount is not enough, Yu said.
Granting that the operators who form groups either by corporation or cooperative can afford the high-priced PUVs, manufacturers can only deliver at least 10 units in 75 days. There won’t be time to deliver all 250,000 new PUVs before the deadline, he said.
Yu said local government units (LGUs) also have yet to submit the required Local Transport Public Route Plan. He expects more delays in the submission because many LGU chief executives are new and most of the personnel trained by the Department of Transportation on the modernization process were replaced.
“We want modernization. That is the way to do it. But beating the deadline of June 2020 is hard to achieve,” Yu said.
Another problem that operators may face is the recovery of the investment. Some of them may not be earning as much with their current units, but at least they’re not in debt, he said.
“The fare must be higher than the existing order because instead of being debt-free, the operators will have to pay the amortization of their loans with interest,” Yu said. (EOB)