No jeepney shortage expected after franchise consolidation

(Rjay Zuriaga Castor photo)

By Rjay Zuriaga Castor

There is no need for commuters in Iloilo City to worry after the April 30 franchise consolidation deadline, as there will be enough public utility jeepneys (PUJ) plying the streets, the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board Region 6 (LTFRB-6) said.

Atty. Salvador “Jun” Altura, LTFRB-6 legal officer told Daily Guardian that it has been approved that first town jeepneys will be allowed to ply their original routes to prevent passengers entering the city from being stranded.

“The city and the provincial government have an agreement with us (LTFRB-6) and the operators that the first towns, a minimum of 25 and a maximum of 40 percent will be allowed to enter the city, especially for routes covered by Leganes since it has one of the problematic situations,” he said.

The permission to enter the city routes however will only provide limited stops to prevent a “hundred percent” overlap to the jeepneys that traverse the city loop.

First town jeepneys include those from Pavia, Leganes, and Oton.

Altura’s statement comes on the heels of claims that first-town jeepneys, notably those from Leganes, would only be permitted to transport passengers up to Jaro plaza.

He added that the measure is also to avoid a situation reminiscent of the June 2022 implementation of the Local Public Transport Route Plan (LPTRP), where thousands of passengers in Iloilo city and surrounding towns faced difficulties accessing public transportation during peak hours.

The implementation of the LPTRP was however suspended by the city mayor just a month after.

The LPTRP is a requirement under the government’s public utility vehicle modernization program and the basis for franchise issuance.

As for the preparations, Iloilo City Traffic Management Unit head, Uldarico Garbanzos echoed similar sentiments of the LTFRB-6 official.

“We have already had a series of consultations to ensure readiness by May 2, given that May 1 is a holiday, to meet the challenges of this phase,” he said.

Garbanzos assured that there will be enough public utility jeepneys to serve commuters in the city, citing the transport cooperatives’ commitment to avoid leaving passengers stranded in terminals.

“We have around 600 modernized jeepneys and we have twice the number in our consolidated traditional jeepneys. We already have our dispatching plan submitted to the LTFRB,” he added.

The ICTMU head mentioned plans to meet with terminal operators to organize parking placements, drop-off, and waiting areas on city roads for a systematic operation starting in May.

Data from the LTFRB-6 revealed that the region has a total of 8,534 traditional PUJs, with Bacolod and Iloilo cities sharing the largest portion, accounting for 2,313 and 2,266 PUJs, respectively.

As of the December data on consolidation of traditional jeepneys, Bacolod City has the highest count of unconsolidated PUJs at 1,747, followed by Iloilo City with 547, Negros Occidental province with 189, Capiz with 87, Iloilo province with 67, Aklan with 53, Antique with 29, and Guimaras with 10.

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