President Ferdinand Marcos Jr has agreed to Transportation Secretary Jaime Bautista’s suggestion, allowing independent jeepneys an extra three months to form or become part of transport cooperatives or companies, the PCO announced Wednesday.
“This extension is to give an opportunity to those who expressed intention to consolidate but did not make the previous cut-off,” the PCO said in a statement.
The deadline has been set for April 30, 2024, to modernize public utility vehicles. The goal is to swap old jeepneys for new ones with engines meeting Euro 4 emission standards, improving air quality and ensuring compliance with road safety regulations as per the Land Transportation Office.
The first step of the upgrade plan is grouping private vehicle franchises into bigger teams or companies, to shift the cost of new vehicles from the owners to the larger organization.
Numerous jeepney operators protested the initiative, stating they forfeited their vehicles when ownership shifted to transit collectives.
Over 300 Metro Manila routes have jeepneys yet to be merged, according to a list from the LTFRB.
Based on information from the LTO and LTFRB, franchises were granted to over 40,000 vehicles for operation in Metro Manila; however, merely 22,000 are officially on record, suggesting more than 20,000 illegal ‘colorum’ jeepneys could be active.
President approves PUV consolidation extension
The LTFRB is also exploring the idea that most unauthorized vehicles have ceased activity, with only about 600 continuing to travel the roads.
They also mentioned they aren’t concerned about a shortage of public utility vehicles, as they plan to offer free rides on routes that aren’t merged.
“Maliliit na routes [lang] yun. These are secondary routes na dinadaanan naman ng mga ibang bus,” said LTFRB chairman Attorney Teofilo Guadiz III.
Unorganized groups can merge with current companies or co-ops, and classic jeepneys not joining can turn into personal vehicles.
“Kailangan niyong idrop yung unit sa prangkisa. Kung wala ka nang prangkisa kasi nakanselahan na, kailangang magrehistro as a private vehicle. Hindi na niya kailangan mag-modernize? Hindi na. Kailangan [lang] pumasa ng motor vehicle inspection,” said Mendoza.