PUV drivers threaten to go on strike

Piston protests jeepney modernization timetable

The government on Thursday urged a major transport group to discuss their concerns about the jeepney modernization program before going on a two-day strike in January.

In an interview on GMA-7, Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board executive director Samuel Jardin said a dialogue would help both sides come up with a solution that would benefit everyone.

The Pinagkaisang Samahan ng mga Tsuper at Operator Nationwide (Piston) had earlier announced a two-day strike in January to protest the modernization program, which it said would disenfranchise many drivers and operators.

The program will require operators to replace old jeepneys with new units costing P2 million each that comply with Euro 4 emission standards.

READ: Government sets rollout of electric jeepneys

None of the old jeepneys, Jardin said, could possibly comply with the Euro 4 standard, which would cut pollution by 45 percent.

Piston has also complained about the March 18 deadline for jeepney operators to form corporations or cooperatives, which the LTFRB said would enable them to take advantage of tax exemptions.

Meanwhile, Senator Grace Poe took the LTFRB to task for issuing policies and taking action without public consultation.

“The LTFRB seems to be crafting policies and issuances without hearing the side of the PUV operators, drivers and passengers. It doesn’t get the complete picture, the result is a mess,” said Poe, who chairs the Senate committee on public services.

“We are reminding them that the passengers, commuters and operators and drivers should be the center of their mandate to hasten the transport of our people,” she said.

Poe’s committee recently held a hearing on the operation of the Parañaque Integrated Terminal Exchange, which has bumped into problems over the rationalization of routes and the issuance of franchises.

The new measures being implemented at Metro Manila’s new land port were blamed for the long queues of passengers at the Mall of Asia transport terminal last week.

Reports reaching the senator’s office tell of some commuters, including senior citizens, waiting for as long as three hours to get a ride home to Cavite.

“It is really disturbing that the basic law of supply and demand is not even readily apparent to LTFRB and DOTR,” she said, referring to the Department of Transportation.

“Imagine, they stop buses at PITX and have the passengers disembark before allowing them to enter Metro Manila with nobody onboard,” she said in Filipino.

The lack of public consultation results in either a glut or a lack of PUVs in many areas, Poe said.

“There really is a problem with rationalizing routes and franchises being given out by the LTFRB,” she added.

Topics: jeepney modernization program , strike , Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board , Samuel Jardin , Pinagkaisang Samahan ng mga Tsuper at Operator Nationwide
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