CL public transport group leaders oppose jeepney phase out

CITY OF SAN FERNANDO – Hundreds of jeepneys operators and transport group association leaders from different provinces in Central Luzon stormed the regional office of the Land Transportation Franchising Regulatory Board on Monday to protest the planned phase out of jeepneys on the road.

Emmanuel Cruz, spokesperson, transport sector of the Workers Movement for Change, said transport leaders strongly oppose the Omnibus Franchise Guidelines, a government move that will eventually take out jeepneys on the roads.

“Hindi inaamin ng LTFRB na ipi-phase-out ang mga jeep pero batay sa ginanap na konsultasyon ng LTFRB sa City of San Fernando, Pampanga noong ika-5 ng Abril, doon mo maiiintindihan na phase-out talaga ang pupuntahan ng mga jeep namin,” Cruz said in a statement distributed to reporters here.

Cruz and his group converged at the LTFRB regional office at the Government Center, Barangay Maimpis here, and submitted their petition strongly opposing the Omnibus Franchising Guidelines. The LTFRB has yet to comment on this.

The OFG, which aim to improve land public transport in the Philippines, in accordance with the LGUs’ public-transport plans, where routes are based on passenger demands and the existing road network. These guidelines also ensure that approved franchises have safe, comfortable and environmentally sustainable vehicles.

Though LTFRB assured jeepney operators that no phase out of public transportation will takes place as existing franchise will remain, Cruz said jeepney drivers and operators cannot afford to acquire a brand new unit of public transportation which cost P1.4 million to P1.6 million.

Under the proposed guidelines commuters will have easier access to public transport due to an expanded network that connects different routes and establishments. Riding public transport will also be more reliable. Travel times may also decrease due to routes becoming optimized. Vehicles will be more comfortable, spacious, clean and safe.

Drivers will have the security of monthly salary and benefits. Drivers will have reduced working hours, making it safer for both the driver and the passengers. Due to modernized vehicle specifications, drivers will also be less exposed to air pollution and other health hazards.

Improvements in public transport will increase ridership, while reducing traffic congestion. As a result, operators will be able to accept more passengers, without their vehicles getting stuck in traffic. Furthermore, organizing operators will reduce costs by sharing services, such as cleaning, repairs, maintenance and fleet management. It will also be easier for operators to obtain fuel and spare parts at discounted rates.

The transport group leaders voluntarily disperse due to heavy downpour.

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