Half a month after traditional jeepneys have been allowed to resume operations, a transport group leader said only 30 percent of the more than 6,000 authorized units have been able to ply the routes approved by the government.
Efren De Luna of the Alliance of Concerned Transport Organizations (ACTO) said on Wednesday that many jeepney drivers in Metro Manila are still not able to return on the roads despite the go signal given by the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) earlier this month.
According to De Luna, many drivers and operators are having a hard time completing the requirements of the LTFRB on the return of public utility jeepneys (PUJs).
“Sa 49 na mga ruta na binuksan para sa mga traditional jeepneys, halos 30 percent lang ng mga jeep ang nag-participate dahil sa hirap ng mga requirements na naka-saad sa memorandum circular na inilabas ng LTFRB,” De Luna said.
(Of the 49 routes opened for traditional jeepneys, only about 30 percent of jeeps participated due to the difficulty in meeting the requirements stated in the memorandum circular issued by the LTFRB.)
Among the requirements, De Luna said the most difficult to follow is the voluntary surrender of their franchise which would make their livelihoods limited.
“Ang masakit dyan ay ang pag-surrender ng aming prangkisa. Wala po talagang gagawa noon dahil pagka-ginawa namin iyon ay wala na, di na kami operator kundi isa na lamang kaming nangangarap na magkaroon pa ng hanapbuhay,” he said in a separate interview.
(It is the voluntary surrender of our franchise that is the most painful. No one would do that because if we do, we are no longer operators but rather, individuals dreaming to have a livelihood.)
The transport group leader added that majority of drivers and operators also found it difficult to obtain the required QR Code as the LTFRB website where it was supposed to be downloaded is always offline.
The LTFRB has required the need for these special barcodes for jeepneys drivers that would prove that their vehicles were among the 6,002 units permitted to ply the 49 routes in the metropolis.
The regulatory body also required jeepney drivers to have a personal passenger insurance policy and to have their vehicles subjected to a roadworthiness test.
With this, De Luna said that for them, the move of the LTFRB to allow traditional jeepneys back on the road is “just for a show.”
“Kung totoo talaga ang LTFRB, dapat ay alisin na ang mga requirements at buksan na lahat ng ruta ng mga traditional jeepney. Huwag munang ipasok ang mga ilang personal na interes ng DOTr at ng LTFRB,” De Luna emphasized.
(If the LTFRB is true to its words, the requirements on the return of PUJs should be removed and all routes for traditional jeepneys should be opened. Do not include some personal interests of the DOTr and the LTFRB first.)
“Hanggang nasa pandemic pa tayo, dapat ay kapakanan muna ng mga pasahero at nagugutom na mga jeepney drivers ang unahin,” he added.
(While we are still in the pandemic, we must put first the welfare of the passengers, as well as the jeepney drivers who lost their livelihoods.)