LTFRB: Seize unconsolidated jeepneys plying after April 30

LTFRB 7 Director Eduardo Montealto Jr.
LTFRB 7 Director Eduardo Montealto Jr. File photo/Earl Padronia

THE traditional jeepneys of operators and drivers who have not joined cooperatives as part of the consolidation required under the Public Utility Vehicle Modernization Program (PUVMP) will be classified as “colorum” or illegally operating starting Wednesday, May 1, 2024, and the government will seize those plying the streets and apprehend their drivers.

This was the warning given by Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board Central Visayas (LTFRB 7) Director Eduardo Montealto Jr. on Monday, April 29, 2024, a day before the April 30 deadline for the consolidation.

But in the case of the traditional jeepneys whose drivers and operators have joined the consolidation, these units will still be allowed to operate for 27 months after the consolidation deadline, Montealto told SunStar Cebu.

Montealto said the allowance of over two years aims to facilitate the transition to the full integration of modern jeepneys in public transportation.

Consolidation

Montealto said the consolidation rate currently stands at 89 percent in Central Visayas, which covers the provinces of Cebu, Bohol, Negros Oriental and Siquijor.

He did not provide the specific number of traditional jeepneys that have undergone consolidation for the PUVMP, saying that the report has yet to be finalized.

Montealto added that aside from those who are not interested in consolidating, the jeepney units that did not undergo the process are those that have not been operating already and those that are beyond economical repair.

Relief

Commuter Ivy Ramirez, 24, who works in the office of a private hospital, agrees with the decision to allow more time for traditional jeepney drivers to ply the roads of Cebu City after April 30, saying that barring them immediately would hurt commuters who rely on public transportation, as “they are more affordable than modern jeepneys.” The minimum fare for traditional jeepneys is P12, while for modern jeepneys, it is P15.

Banker Paul Suarez from Barangay Subangdaku in Mandaue City echoed this sentiment, saying traditional jeepneys still dominate major thoroughfares. He continues to have difficulty getting a ride from modern jeepneys compared to traditional ones, which are “readily available to accommodate” him on his commute from home to work in Cebu City.

Suarez explained that most modern jeepneys are already full since they have already picked up passengers from the terminal before going to his area.

Apprehend

Montealto said they will strictly go after the “colorum” unconsolidated traditional jeepneys that will still operate after the April 30 consolidation deadline.

Colorum vehicles are unauthorized public transport vehicles operating illegally without proper permits or licenses from regulatory offices.

He added that aside from the LTFRB, the Land Transportation Office (LTO) and Highway Patrol Group will also apprehend the drivers of the colorum jeepneys and impound their jeepneys.

A report from a national media outfit stated that LTO Chief Vigor Mendoza announced their intention to pursue unconsolidated jeepneys that continue to operate after the April 30 deadline.

Based on the LTFRB and LTO’s Joint Administrative Order 2014-01, operators of colorum jeepney vehicles will be fined P50,000, with minimum impounding of three months of the unit.

Montealto said traffic enforcers of local government units are not deputized to seize operating unconsolidated traditional jeepneys but will only issue citation tickets to the drivers.

No strike

Regarding protests against the consolidation deadline, Montealto confirmed that there was indeed no transport strike by traditional jeepney drivers in Cebu, despite the announcement by the Pinagkaisang Samahan ng mga Tsuper at Opereytor Nationwide (Piston) of the staging of a three-day nationwide strike beginning Monday.

He said he was aware of the Cebu chapter of the transport group planning a picket rally outside their office in Barangay Lorega San Miguel in Cebu City on Tuesday afternoon, April 30, but he presumes protesters will remain peaceful.

Piston Cebu chairperson Gregory Perez said last Sunday, April 28, that instead of joining the three-day strike, declared to start Monday and continue until the Labor Day celebration on May 1, they will just hold a rally.

Modernization

Under the PUVMP, the National Government requires traditional jeepney units to either form or join a cooperative or corporation to continue operating, necessitating them to relinquish their individual franchises. The minimum number of cooperative members is 10.

The program aims to replaced old, dilapidated jeepneys and other PUVs that are 15 years old with modern, safer and more comfortable vehicles emitting lower emissions, thus reducing pollution.

It also seeks to restructure the public transportation system for increased efficiency through route planning, fleet management and industry regulation.

Last January, Transportation Secretary Jaime Bautista announced that the consolidation deadline, extended for the eighth time since 2017, would be on April 30. The aim of extending the deadline by three months was to increase the consolidation figures to 85 percent.

At that time, only around 67 percent of PUVs, UV Express units, mini-buses and public utility buses in the country had undergone consolidation.

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