Details and sticking points of the PUV Modernization Program (PUVMP) were the subject of the recent Society of Philippine Motoring Journalist’s (SPMJ) Forum, the first of many planned by the group to tackle pressing topics in the automotive industry. The vent was held at Seda Hotel in Vertis North in Quezon City.
Joining the forum were Chairman Martin Delgra of the Land Transportation Franchise and Regulatory Board (LTFRB), Joseph Bautista representing the Truck Manufacturer’s Association (TMA), and the Arthur Balmadrid, representing Tata Motors, a truck manufacturer and member of the TMA.
At the forum, each individual was given the opportunity to show a short presentation, as well as answers questions from the members of the media present.
Chairman Delgra took the opportunity to present the larger goal of the PUVMP as not simply a solution for jeepneys, but as a larger plan to streamline all modes of four to six-wheeled public transport. The program is designed restructure the entire public transport system by scrutinizing current routes into more streamlined ones, replacing the current ‘one vehicle one franchise’ system with a new ‘one route one franchise’ system shared by a corporation or cooperative, and to standardize the public transportation vehicles themselves to provide safe, comfortable and secure modes of transport for the commuters.
Bautista shared the TMA’s contribution to the Department of Trade and Industry in its efforts to standardize public transportation into four main classes to cover routes based on distance and number of passengers, implementing strict passenger and size limits, as well as new requirements like speed limiters, dash cams and electronic payment systems.
Balmadrid shared Tata’s efforts as a participant of the PUVMP to design and build vehicles compatible with the new standards as well as conceptualizing programs to teach potential PUVMP drivers how to operate and maintain these new vehicles in order to ease the transition.
All speakers were also on-hand to take on questions from the members of the media present to provide a clearer picture of the much-maligned though rarely understood PUVMP.
The SPMJ hopes to have many for Forums to tackle various subjects that concern the local automotive industry. The group is composed of columnists and journalists in the print, broadcast and online media, an organization that started in 2002.
The group is known for its Driven to Serve CSR awards that recognize outstanding CSR efforts embarked upon by vehicle manufacturers and distributors in the country. It also has a road safety advocacy that has produced a manual for classroom instruction. It has conducted more than 50 workshops for students and training sessions for teachers based on the Road Safety for Children manual.