The Department of Transport (DOTr) officially launched the PUV (Public Utility Vehicle) Modernization Program which aims to streamline public transport for the country. The new program aims to replace unsafe, dilapidated, non road worthy jeepneys into safer, more efficient and a cleaner form of public transportation.

Held at Camp Aguinaldo, Secretary Arthur Tugade bared the comprehensive, long-term program designed to make public utility vehicles 'safer, more convenient, more comfortable, and environment-friendly'.

PUV Modernization Program to usher in progressive public transport

“Huwag tayong makuntento sa resultang 'pwede na 'yan'. Itaas natin ang antas ng kalidad ng ating serbisyo sa mamamayan at sa ating bayan. “Kung noon, pwede na sa atin ang masisikip, hindi kaaya-aya, at delikadong uri ng mga pampublikong sasakyan, ngayon, huwag na natin itong hayaan. Pagtulung-tulungan natin ang pagpapatupad ng modernisasyon sa sektor ng transportasyon,” said Secretary Tugade

(“Let's not be content with 'that will do'. Let us raise the quality of our services to the people and to the nation. In the past, we were content with cramped, dilapidated and dangerous types of public transport. Let it not be the case today. Let us help each other in fulfilling the modernization of transport”.)

The DOTr assures the public easier access to public transport with Fleet Consolidation and Modernization. This program also sees an expanded and rationalized public transport network and services. The agency promises that PUVs will be more comfortable, spacious, clean, safe, and much easier to use for PWDs.

During the launch, the DOTr announced the Regulatory Reform One components of the PUV Modernization Program. The Omnibus Franchising Guidelines (OFG) are new guidelines for the operation of public transportation franchises. Under the OFG, local government units (LGUs) are required to develop a local transport plan, which includes measures for traffic management, and a transport route plan, which will identify public transport services required in certain routes, based on passenger demand and the existing local road network.

In this program, vehicles will be equipped with GNSS (Global Navigation Satellite System), and speed limiters. Also under the PUV Modernization Program, there will be industry consolidation wherein drivers will have the security of monthly salaries and benefits, and will have reduced working hours.

On top of that, training and capacity building programs will be set up to develop and strengthen the know-how of drivers would also be offered. Operators under a consolidated arrangement will likewise reduce maintenance and operational costs by sharing services such as cleaning, repairs, maintenance, and management. Financing and special loan program will also be offered to provide operators low equity, low interest rates, and longer payment periods.

The DOTr is coordinating with the DOF, DTI, and other financial institutions in designing programs that will give manufacturers and operators better access to credit. Small operators can consolidate to pool resources, meet minimum credit requirements, and share the cost of operations and maintenance. Existing franchises will continue to operate for the next 2 to 3 years upon issuance of the guidelines.