Modern jeepney drivers undergo safety training, says coop head

(Mariela Angella Oladive photo)

By Joseph Bernard A. Marzan

Transport cooperatives and companies part of the Public Utility Vehicle Modernization Program (PUVMP) have been actively engaging their drivers in seminars to ensure road safety.

A transport group highlighted this initiative following a recent incident where a modern jeepney driver was involved in a fatal accident with a pedestrian.

Raymundo Parcon, president of the Western Visayas Transport Cooperative (WVTC), disclosed to Daily Guardian on Air last Friday, March 22, that their drivers underwent training in February to address various concerns including speeding, which he attributes to habits formed from driving traditional jeepneys.

“We know that the cooperative has to discipline its drivers, because we have received many reports from passengers that there were drivers who had been going too fast, and who were arrogant [on the roads]. We paid for their team-building and seminars for drivers and conductors,” Parcon emphasized.

He also mentioned that the cooperative implements sanctions for drivers based on passenger complaints.

“There was one [complaint] by the spouse of a doctor, who said that the side [of their car] was slightly hit because one of our drivers suddenly hit the brakes, and he had been going very fast from [City Proper] to Buntatala [in Jaro],” Parcon narrated.

“When there are complaints, we call on the driver [involved] and give them suspension for three days because there is a complaint. If after three days, they return and they still drive in the same manner, we will mete another five days suspension. After two suspensions, on the third, we already terminate them. We give them a cash bond and we no longer accept them in rehiring.”

Parcon encouraged passengers to report any concerns via company or cooperative hotlines, which can be found within the vehicles. He also highlighted the use of CCTV cameras to oversee not just drivers, but Passenger Assistance Officers or conductors as well.

The recent accident has sparked public scrutiny over the behavior of drivers within the PUVMP, highlighting the necessity for consistent driver accountability and training.

The transport company involved in the accident last Wednesday, March 20, acknowledged the driver’s fault, and a spokesperson for PUVMP cooperatives warned that the company might face franchise revocation if found liable.

Perfecto Yap, a consultant for the said transport company, told Aksyon Radyo Iloilo on Thursday, March 21, that it was indeed the fault of the driver.

Halley Alcarde, a spokesperson for a group of PUVMP transport cooperatives, also told the radio station on Sunday that the company may risk losing its franchise if they and the driver are found liable for the incident.

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