It's been years since the government announced the launch of the PUV Modernization Program and, from what we've been seeing, they have been proactive in promoting it. After all, with thousands of old PUV (Jeepneys and buses alike) still roaming the streets, the government is more than keen to bring our public transport into the modern age.
So how has progress been so far for the program? Turns out, there's a fair number of operators who have adapted new next-generation PUVs.
According to DOTr Undersecretary for Road Transport and Infrastructure Mark de Leon, there are now approximately 17,000 authorized units to roam the streets nationwide. De Leon said that they are expecting a lot more to comply given that the July 2020 deadline is just a few months away. The official reassures the public that the program is on track despite the looming deadline. However, he did mention a provision for old-style PUVs as well.
For old units that still cannot comply with the new standard, they must undergo what's called the Motor Vehicle Inspection System or MVIS. If they pass MVIS, operators of old PUVs must then apply for provisional authority. After that, those operators are given a one year allowance to switch to modern units. That means that either way, all operators must switch to the required PUV specifications mandated by the government. If they (the operators) are unable to comply and procure the new vehicles, the route will be given to 'willing operators' instead.
As for the new routing system, de Leon mentioned that over 50% of LGUs have submitted route plans. Once these are set in place, the public can expect more coordinated routes for the convenience of the commuting public. As of October 2019, 465 routes have been approved by the DOTr, with even more since then. There are now also over 1,000 transport cooperatives and more than 100,000 members accredited by the Office of Transportation Cooperatives or OTC.
De Leon said that they are not expecting all operators to immediately adapt to the new program come July 2020. This is why the MVIS has been set in place to give the operators of old-design PUVs just a little bit more time to be able to purchase the PUVMP-compliant vehicles. For as long as the vehicle passes inspection, they may still be used for public transport. What the Assistant Secretary did note is that they expect all PUVs in the country to be new before the end of 2022 or the end of the current administration.