As beloved as public utility jeepneys (PUJs) are because of their novelty that is indigenous only to the Philippines, they have slowly become the scourge of the streets due to the traffic they cause by illegally stopping to load and unload passengers wherever they choose and turning side streets and street corners into waiting areas or terminals.
To combat this and instill more discipline in the operation of PUJs, Senator Miriam Defensor-Santiago has filed Senate Bill 2775 otherwise known as the ‘Jeepney Terminals and Stops Act.’
The bill aims to supersede the any and all memos and policies from local government units regarding PUJ ‘stops’ and terminals in order to make the implementation a more uniformed process nationwide.
Under the bill, the local government and concerned government units must establish PUJ terminals that should have ‘an office for jeepney operations, a restroom open to the public and a waiting shed.’
Designated ‘stops’ must be determined along the route of PUJs and it should take into consideration the areas where people generally board and alight. It should have a ‘waiting shed and proper signage indicating the route of PUJs plying the area and the corresponding penalties for non-compliance with this Act’
These ‘stops’ must not be more than 100 meters from each other and must also be found in front of schools, hospitals, churches, and city or municipal halls, regardless of the 100-meter requirement.
PUJ drivers and operators will be required to attend a seminar about ‘traffic rules and regulations, road etiquette, driving safety, the creation of new terminals and stops, and the penalties’ that arise from any violation. Non-compliance comes with a fine of Php 3,000. Certificates of attendance will be issued and this document will be necessary for the PUJ driver to renew his/her driver’s license.
Loading or unloading a passenger in a non-designated ‘stop’ comes with a fine of Php 500 for the first offense, Php 1,500 for the 2nd while the 3rd come with a Php 3,000 fine which the driver AND operator must now pay.
In the event of a 4th offense, the driver shall be fined Php 5,000 and his/her license suspended for six months.
For the incorrigible committing a fifth, the driver’s license shall be revoked and operator franchise suspended for one year.
PUJ drivers are not solely to blame which is why erring passengers will not be spared. A passenger who, for the first time, alights outside of the ‘stop’ zones will have to attend a seminar on traffic rules and regulations. Second offense has a fine of Php 1,000 while a third comes with a Php 2,000 fine.
Implementing agencies are the Department of Transportation and Communication (DOTC), Land Transportation Office (LTO), Land Transportation Franchising & Regulatory Board (LTFRB) and the Metro Manila Development Authority (MMDA).