LIMITED RIDES HIT COMMUTERS: Iloilo City adjusts jeepney entry cap to 40%

Iloilo City traffic enforcers check provincial jeeps passing through Jaro district as part of the implementation of the enhanced local public transport route plan. (ICTMU photo)

By Rjay Zurriaga Castor and Mariela Angella Oladive

Commuters from the first or border towns of Iloilo province have faced significant travel challenges since the implementation of Iloilo City’s enhanced local public transport route plan (LPTRP) on May 27.

The new plan has particularly affected travel during peak and late-night hours.

In an interview with Daily Guardian, several commuters from the first district towns shared their experiences.

James, a resident of Oton who works as a customer service representative in the city, described the inconvenience.

“During rush hour in the afternoon, it’s tough to wait. You might have to take a tricycle to the Mohon terminal and then transfer to an Oton jeep. It’s really inconvenient,” he shared.

Kim from Pavia and Christine Berja from Leganes echoed similar sentiments. “It’s not like before when you could get on right away after getting off. Now, you have to wait for a long time, and I get late to my destination,” Berja expressed.

Kim detailed the financial burden caused by the limited jeepney entry.

“It’s really challenging not to be late for work. There have been times when I’ve had to take a taxi, which costs me around P200 just to make it on time. It’s an added expense that really hurts my budget,” she said.

In response to these struggles and the high passenger demand, Iloilo City has approved allowing 40 percent of the total consolidated jeepneys from the first town municipalities, including Leganes, Oton, and Pavia, to enter the city during peak hours from 6:00-9:00 a.m. and 4:30-7:00 p.m.

This was as confirmed by Mario Nillos, Iloilo Provincial Planning and Development Office (PPDO) office, during a press conference on Thursday, May 30.

The adjustment came after a meeting between city and provincial officials, where they clarified the percentage of consolidated Public Utility Jeepneys (PUJs) allowed into the city.

Initially, only 25 percent of jeepneys were allowed entry. Nillos clarified that this 25 percent applies during off-peak hours.

He highlighted that Governor Arthur Defensor Jr. had formally requested the 40 percent adjustment in a letter to Mayor Jerry Treñas on May 8. The request included Santa Barbara, considering the passenger demand from the first district towns.

The provincial government noted that the “first town” municipalities are part of the Metro-Iloilo Guimaras Economic Development Council (MIGEDC) and are considered dormitory municipalities.

Santa Barbara is also significant as the entrance to the Iloilo International Airport is located there.

“This 40 percent adjustment is crucial to accommodate passenger demand. The LTFRB provided us with the list of consolidated PUJ in every route,” Nillos explained.

He detailed that the percentage allocation is based on a simulation activity conducted between February and March 2024, involving 42 towns across the province and Passi City.

“During the simulation, we tallied the number of passengers from the first towns. Our computations indicated that 40 percent of the consolidated jeepneys would be necessary to meet this demand. We relied on metrics and scientific analysis to arrive at this figure,” he said.

Routes affected by the policy include:

– Oton – Iloilo City Loop

– Leganes – Iloilo City Loop via Sen. Benigno Aquino Jr. Avenue

– Leganes – La Paz, Iloilo City Loop via La Paz

– Pavia – Iloilo City Loop via Sen. Benigno Aquino Jr. Avenue

– Pavia – Iloilo City Loop via La Paz

Nillos noted that PUJs operating these routes will have visible stickers indicating their consolidation status.

The Iloilo City Traffic Management Unit (ICTMU) will manage entry by providing weekly lists of authorized PUJs.

Vehicles not on the list, even if they have the appropriate stickers, will be denied entry.

Data from the Iloilo Provincial Planning and Development Office showed that the first town has a total of 727 consolidated jeepney units, but only 291 units are allowed during peak hours and 182 are allowed after 9:00 a.m.

For instance, on the Iloilo City-Leganes route via Aquino Avenue, only 19 are allowed during peak hours and 13 after 9:00 a.m.

Similarly, the Iloilo City-Santa Barbara route via Aquino Avenue, primarily served by the Sta. Barbara New Lucena Iloilo Trans. Coop (SBNITC), has 57 consolidated units, but only 23 and 14 units are permitted during and after peak hours, respectively.

Iloilo City’s LPTRP, which is a requirement under the government’s public utility vehicle modernization program, caters to 1,782 modernized jeepneys. Data from the LTFRB-6 revealed that the city has 2,266 traditional jeepneys, with 1,692 of these consolidated. It also has around 600 modernized jeepneys.

For jeepneys coming from other towns, operations will be limited to terminals, with the city government managing passenger transfers to ensure access to city transportation.

As of Friday, May 31, the first towns’ jeepney entry cap in the metro remains at 25 percent, with an additional 15 percent buffer units on standby at terminals, despite approval for 40 percent.

Michael Villanueva, Traffic Aid Assistant Supervisor at the Iloilo City Traffic Management Unit (ICTMU), said in an interview with a local radio that they have not yet received the notification to implement the 40 percent entry.

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