Looking forward

By: Editorial June 23,2017 - 10:20 PM

A dialogue between Cebu’s public utility vehicle (PUV) drivers and the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) may eventually redound to their benefit instead of the rallies being staged by their militant counterparts in the streets.

Benjamin Yu of the Cebu Integrated Transport Service Cooperative (Citrasco), the biggest mass transport group in the province, pushed for the dialogue out of concern for the Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) project in Cebu City that will roll out in a few years’ time.

The rollout came amid the confirmation by the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) that their hybrid electric train will service the SM City–Plaza Independencia route sometime next month.

It may not be much to jeepney drivers not servicing the route; but since the hybrid train will initially be rolled out for free to commuters, it may not be long before the riding public gets wind of the service and more will board the train, depriving jeepney drivers of customers.

And that’s just for this year. With more transport network services plying the city streets, passenger jeepneys are competing with taxi drivers in luring passengers to board their units especially during the weekend.

While some malls have set up terminals to accommodate jeepneys, which remain the most affordable mass transport option, others have yet to be allowed by the city government due to traffic concerns.

Given this setup, Citrasco is expected to take their concerns to the LTFRB or to the Department of Transportation (DOTr) in order to enable their members not only to survive but thrive amid more attractive mass transport options.

What is clear, however, is that their routes will now be limited to servicing commuters headed to and from the BRT terminals. Under the imminent setup, buses will take up most of the national roads and highways since they can accommodate more passengers who can expect some comfort and convenience — perhaps some air-conditioning — in their ride to and from school and work.

In this shifting transport landscape, they have no choice but to upgrade, and the national government is said to be willing to help them secure loans that they can pay back in staggered basis in order to secure better vehicles that can lure in the commuters.

In Cebu City, the city government is said to have committed to building a one-stop center that will help passenger jeepney operators repair and conduct maintenance on existing units.

Only the most stubborn will insist on not upgrading and expecting the public to understand their plight even if commuters now have better transport choices.

In this light, it is but practical for jeepney and other PUV operators to upgrade for their survival and continued profitability.

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TAGS: board, commuters, DOTr, FORWARD, jeepney, LOOKING, LTFRB, service

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