Resch calls for immediate return of PUJs to city streets
CEBU CITY, Philippines –With nearly two months under the modified general community quarantine (MGCQ), public transportation remains scarce in Cebu City.
Councilor Jessica Resch, who is also the city’s Sangguniang Kabataan Federation (SKF) president, is asking Mayor Edgardo Labella to already facilitate the immediate return of Public Utility Jeepneys to city streets.
Resch said that drivers have been left without any income for almost seven months now while workers also struggle to get to work.
“Our jeepney drivers are very desperate to earn. And, on the other hand, the commuting public is clamoring for augmentation of public transport to support their mobility,” she said in a privilege speech that she delivered during the Council session Tuesday afternoon, October 7.
Resch said that the city’s insufficient public transportation remains to be a major concern under the MGCQ.
To date, only buses, modern jeepneys, taxis, and tricycles have been allowed to serve commuters.
“The number of buses allowed to ply the roads is not enough to cater to the number of Cebuanos who rely on public transportation to get to work. Not to mention the difference in fare, with buses’ fare prices being relatively higher than those of the jeepneys’ a huge deal for commuters who are struggling to make it through these very difficult times,” she added.
Resch said that the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board in Central Visayas (LTFRB-7) promised to process the special permits for jeepneys as early as June 2020, but this was halted with stricter quarantine protocols in July.
The continued absence of PUJs on city streets, she said, is already creating a vacuum between demand and the actual number of public transportation.
“It is now October, approximately 2 months since Cebu City was downgraded to MGCQ. What is taking LTFRB-7 so long in processing these special permits?” said Resch.
Resch urged Mayor Labella to create a functional Mass Transportation Division under the Cebu City Transportation Office (CCTO) to help PUJ drivers return to the streets.
Councilor James Cuenco, the council’s committee on transportation chairperson, replied that Labella already created a task group, which he now heads, to help PUJ drivers.
He told Resch to give him and the task force until the first week of November to bring back PUJs to city streets. If they fail to do so, he promised to join Resch in condemning the delay.
“Just give us time to work, but if it will not be done, then I will join you in this call to hasten the return of the jeepneys and I will also question the delay from the LTFRB,” Cuenco said.
Resch and the rest of the Council members agreed to give the task force enough time to work with PUJ drivers. At the same time, legislators agreed on the need for CCTO to already have a mass transportation division to handle similar concerns.
Lastly, Councilors called for an executive session with transportation stakeholders and LTFRB to discuss concerns on the city’s need for traditional jeepneys. / dcb
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