Consolidated TPUJs continue to compete with modern PUVs

Consolidated TPUJs continue to compete with modern PUVs
File photo

DESPITE the deadline for franchise consolidation on April 30, 2024, the modern public utility vehicles (MPUVs) still have to compete, this time with “consolidated” traditional public utility jeepneys (TPUJs), a transport cooperative said in a news forum on Tuesday, June 4, 2024.

During the “Kapihan sa Bagong Pilipinas” forum on Tuesday, some transport cooperatives aired concerns that their operation is still affected by some TPUJ drivers and operators who have already consolidated and still choose to ply on their usual routes and compete with MPUVs for passengers on the road.

The National Government has given each transport cooperative about 27 months, or two years and three months, to replace every unit of TPUJ that has been consolidated into MPUV.

The transport cooperative feared that the 27-month ultimatum may be extended by the National Government and that TPUJs’ competition with existing MPUVs will affect the transport cooperatives’ financial capacity to pay the monthly amortization on the loan of their units.

The consolidated TPUJs still practice the “boundary system,” which allows drivers to pay a specific rental for each TPUJ regardless of their daily profit.

This excludes the current competition for passenger traffic between MPUV and the unconsolidated TPUJ, for which the LTFRB has not yet started the apprehension against them.

In a phone interview on Wednesday, June 5, Ellen Maghanoy, president of the Federation of Cebu Transport Cooperative (FCTC), said that this competition resulted in violence and sometimes road rage among drivers on the road.

Maghanoy said that there was one occasion when two PUVs were involved in a road rage incident due to competition over who could get the most passengers.

In the same forum on Tuesday, Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) 7 Director Eduardo Montealto Jr. said this challenge boils down to the implementation of the single dispatch system and fleet management for every transport cooperative.

However, he admitted that the April 30 deadline for franchise consolidation resulted in confusion among the transport service providers, such as the transport cooperatives.

Montealto said that there are some newly formed transport cooperatives that have not yet fully integrated into the MPUV program and have consolidated only for compliance.

He described the current fleet of public transportation in Cebu as a mix of consolidated TPUJ and MPUV.

“Naa na na sa cooperatives kung unsaon nana nila pag-manage kaning na-mixed up nga units,” Montealto said.

(It is up to the cooperatives how they will manage these mixedup units.)

Montealto added that this will not be the case in the long run with the upcoming approval of the Local Public Transport Route Plan (LPTRP), particularly in Cebu City. The next step after the deadline for franchise consolidation was route rationalization, which will be based on the LPTRP of each local government unit.

He said the Cebu City LPTRP, currently up for review by their Central Office and the Department of Transportation (DOTr), will clarify how many routes will be opened or cut and how many PUV units have to be fielded on these certain routes.

Each route will also be assigned to a certain transport cooperative and will be given franchises that boost efficiency in dispatching and deploying MPUVs, or consolidated TPUJ units, under the LPTRP.

Cebu City’s LPTRP, in comparison to other LGUs that have submitted theirs earlier, has been delayed as some routes were added and omitted in relation to the ongoing construction of the Cebu Bus Rapid Transit.

In Mandaue City, Montealto said that LTFRB 7 has ordered the transport cooperatives to refleet their MPUV following the passing of the LGU’s LPTRP into an ordinance.

Maghanoy said that the completion and implementation of the LPTRP will set the tone for the MPUV regarding the distribution of units on certain routes and whose transport will be given franchises.

On the other hand, Montealto said that LTFRB 7 has issued 28 show cause orders against the operator and drivers of the unconsolidated TPUJ as part of the due process.

However, he clarified that unconsolidated TPUJ is deemed “colorum” as their franchise has already been cancelled.

Montealto said that LTFRB has not yet commenced operations against unconsolidated TPUJ plying the road, however, the Land Transportation Office has an ongoing anti-colorum operation.

He added that in Central Visayas, more than 90 percent of all public transportation has consolidated in the region. (EHP)

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