MORE than 1,500 units of public utility vehicles (PUV) in Davao Region did not renew their franchises since 2016, according to the regional Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB-Davao).

This number includes 925 public utility jeepneys since 2017 and 617 taxis since 2016 that dropped or have expired Certificate of Public Convenience (CPC) or franchise.

LTFRB-Davao regional director Nonito Llanos III said this decreasing number of franchised PUV contributed to the public transportation problem in Davao Region, particularly in Davao City where there is heavy congestion, a lack of PUV units plying, and a growing number of commuters.

During the city council session on February 7, Llanos cited a few possible reasons for the decreasing number of PUVs such as operators dropping old units without substitution, non-renewal of franchises, and no opening of applications for new franchises in Davao City.

He also mentioned a lack of drivers, high maintenance costs, high fuel prices, and traffic congestion as other reasons as to the decrease.

Particularly, the lack of drivers is rooted in drivers opting to work as delivery riders. Llanos said this was happening to some taxi companies in Davao Region and Davao City, thus leaving a number of units unused since there are no drivers.

“(For example) one operator who has 100 authorized units, decided to store 90 units. That means to say there are only 10 units operational now because of the reasons that they have no more drivers. It’s a classic example for all the other operators na daghan kaayo fleet for taxis (who have a big fleet of taxis),” Llanos said. ICM