2% of PUV drivers no longer plying streets due to rising prices of fuel — PISTON Cebu
CEBU CITY, Philippines — At least 2 percent of public utility vehicle (PUV) drivers in Cebu are no longer plying the streets due to the rising prices of fuel and economic struggles.
This was revealed by Pinagkaisang Samahan ng mga Tsuper at Opereytor Nationwide (PISTON)-Cebu chapter in a media forum held on June 21, 2022.
PISTON-Cebu Chapter coordinator Gregory Perez said that the rising price of fuel has gravely affected the jeepney operators in Cebu, with many of them choosing to find work elsewhere.
Based on PISTON-Cebu’s data of the 11,000 jeepney units in the island pre-pandemic, there were 30,000 drivers operating these units. Barely half of these drivers were able to return after the pandemic, or less than 15,000 drivers.
Out of the 15,000 who returned, two percent of the drivers shifted to other industries or have opted to go home to the farmlands in their provinces.
“Dako nig epekto sa commuters nga nagsalig nga barato nga plitehan. Kay makita nato ang kalsada, bisan dili rush hour, apiki na ang pagsakay,” said Perez.
(This has a huge effect on commuters who seek affordable means of transportation. We see how difficult the situation is on our roads, even if it’s not rush hour.)
PISTON-Cebu said that with the lack of drivers and units plying the streets, the ordinary commuters are being affected the most because they find it difficult to find PUVs on the streets.
For this reason, PISTON-Cebu will not be asking an increase in fare from the Land Transportation Franchising Regulatory Board (LTFRB) since the drivers understand that even commuters are having a hard time.
“Diri sa amo, sa PISTON, wala pa sad mi nifile og increase. Sa national, naa nay nangayog increase, naay P5, naay P6. Asa man na kwaon sa mga tawo diri sa Cebu nga gamay ra gani ang umento sa sahod, P31 ra?” said Perez.
(Here in PISTON-Cebu, we haven’t filed for an increase. In the national level, there were those who asked for an increase. They asked for P5, some P6. Where will the commuters get that when the wage increase is only P31?)
It must be noted that other transport groups in Cebu such as CITRASCO, together with Partylist 1-United Transport Koalisyon (1-UTAK), Visayas United Drivers Tranport and Multi-Purpose Cooperative (VUDTRASCO), Mactan Lapu-Lapu Mandaue Transport Cooperative (MLMTC), Talisay Minglanilla Naga San Fernando Carcar Transport Cooperative (TMNSCTC), Mandaue Sabang Danao Multicab Operators and Drivers Multi-Purpose Cooperative (MASADAMOD MPC), and Mauswagon Transport Cooperative filed the petition for a P2-fare increase.
PISTON Cebu did not file the increase, saying that an increase will only make the consumers suffer more.
Modern jeepneys not enough
For now, Perez said they are thankful that the Cebu City government is distributing gasoline discount cards and that Cebu City drivers receive yearly aid of rice and goods from the city government.
Still, this is not enough and PISTON-Cebu is asking the LTFRB to reduce the requirements for traditional jeepneys to return to the streets.
“Di pa na kaya sa modern jeeps, gamay ra sila and limited ra ilang time mopasada. Kailangan unta nato ang traditional jeepney pero moagi man sad og butas ng karayom para makabalik,” said Perez.
(The modern jeeps can’t keep up, they’re too small in number and their time to ply the streets is limited. We need the traditional jeepney but the problem is we need to go through the eye of the needle to get them back.)
The group is asking the local government unit (LGU) to do something or urge the national government to act amid the rising price of fuel in the country.
Perez said that the transport sector needs all the help it can get to survive this economic struggle brought by an uncontrollable world market.
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