A TOTAL of 721 modern public utility jeepneys (MPUJs) are currently operating in Metro Cebu, according to the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) 7.
This, after 80 more units operated by the El Pardo Coop, Lantrasco Coop and KTTS Corp. were deployed on Friday, July 16, 2021.
LTFRB 7 Director Eduardo Montealto Jr. said the additional units were given the provisional authority to ply three intra-city routes in Cebu City and inter-city-municipality routes in Cebu Province.
He said the number of MPUJs is adequate to address the needs of commuters, considering that there are still traditional jeepneys and buses operating.
“But, of course, (the rule on) limited capacity of up to 75 percent and one seat apart stands. That’s why passenger demand in peak hours is a challenge for now,” he told SunStar Cebu.
Montealto said many other operators are still processing their loan to purchase MPUJs.
“Once their loans are released, we issue the operators the provisional authority and the special permit,” he said in Cebuano.
He said more traditional jeepneys operate in Metro Cebu compared to the rest of Central Visayas, as many operators have already consolidated into either a cooperative or a corporation to avail themselves of the loan under the Public Utility Vehicle Modernization Program (PUVMP).
The PUVMP calls for phase-out of jeepneys, buses and other PUVs that are at least 15 years old and replace them with more environmentally-friendly alternatives.
He said the deadline for the consolidation into a cooperative or a corporation lapsed on March 31.
The LTFRB 7 has been pulling out buses deployed in the three highly urbanized cities in Cebu and returning them to their original provincial routes since January this year.
As of this week, 219 buses have returned to their provincial routes, he said.
Meanwhile, Montealto reminded operators to install necessary barriers inside their vehicles to adhere to minimum coronavirus disease 2019 health and safety protocols issued by the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases.
Violators will be dealt with accordingly, he said. (WBS)