The Bacolod City government is assisting traditional jeepney operators and drivers seeking consolidation under the Public Utility Vehicle Modernization Program (PUVMP) to allow them to continue operating with provisional authorities.
Data from the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) showed yesterday that as of December 27, only 23 percent or 540 of the 2,313 traditional jeepneys in the city have consolidated into either a cooperative or a corporation, which is the first step of the modernization program.
Mayor Alfredo Abelardo Benitez said the city government submitted a letter of intent to the Department of Transportation – LTFRB for the still unconsolidated jeepneys to avoid penalty, continue operations, and comply with the December 31 consolidation deadline.
“The city, in coordination with the jeepney drivers, has agreed that we will send a letter of intent, and we will work out the details afterward. The city will now be an active partner or will provide support to them,” he said in a press conference yesterday.
City administrator Lucille Gelvolea said the Samahan ng mga Tsuper at Operators Negros (STONE) and a transport group from Barangay Granada have communicated to the mayor, expressing their willingness to consolidate.
“They sent letters to the mayor for endorsement to the LTFRB requesting an extension. We hope our traditional jeepneys can still operate for an extended time while the city is working with them to be consolidated,” she added.
STONE, which has more than a thousand members, is one of the major transport groups in the city.
Gelvolea said the city government would reach out to operators and driver groups that have yet to consolidate.
“This is a national law. We really have to comply. Maybe we just have to do it gradually. We hope they will realize that the local government has to comply. All we have to do is to help them,” she said.
In Bacolod, a minor transport group, the Bacolod Alliance of Commuters, Operators and Drivers, has been protesting the implementation of the PUVMP and the Local Public Transport Route Plan (LPTRP).
The LPTRP identified 24 routes in the city, with a total allocation of 1,099 modern jeepney units under the PUVMP. (PNA)