The future of cleaner, safer and more reliable public utility jeepneys (PUJs) seems like it can’t come soon enough, especially if you encounter unsightly, smoke-belching units every day.

But because of this administration’s determination and the public utility vehicle (PUV) modernization program, it looks like the future is now.

New electric, solar-powered PUJs have recently passed inspection by the Land Transportation Office (LTO) based on the specifications and standards set by the Bureau of Product Standards of the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI).

These standards stipulate that the latest PUVs under the programs must be able to accommodate 22 passengers using an entrance installed on the right side of the vehicle. Seating has also been reconfigured from the old side-facing design to front-facing, seatbelt-equipped seats.

According to the LTO, these PUJs will cover the route between Ayala-Buendia-SM Mall of Asia and to the Southwestern Integrated Transport Terminal in Paranaque City as soon as it begins operation. Other routes that will be added include stations of Metro Rail Transit (MRT), Light Rail Transit (LRT) and Philippine National Railways in the southern and western parts of Metro Manila.

Financial support to transport corporations and cooperatives for the production of these PUVs will come from the Php 1.5 billion agreement between the Department of Transportation (DOTr) and the Development Bank of the Philippines (DBP).

A design prototype is being worked on by local manufacturers based on the Philippine National Standards.