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PUV operators granted extension to ‘consolidate’

By: Frances G. Mangosing - | December 29,2023 - 08:57 AM


ONE OF THE WORST | File photo shows one of the reasons Metro Manila was adjudged last year as one of the world’s worst in public transportation and mobility. (INQUIRER FILE PHOTO)

MANILA, Philippines — Public utility vehicle (PUV) operators who have yet to consolidate in the government’s PUV modernization program can continue operating on specific routes until January 31, 2024.

However, during this time, the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) and its regional offices will send show cause orders to noncompliant PUV operators, aligning with the Public Service Act. This one-month extension was announced just before the December 31 deadline for franchise consolidation.

Under the five-page LTFRB memorandum dated Dec. 22, nonconsolidated individual PUV operators may be allowed to ply routes with less than 60 percent consolidated number of authorized until Jan. 31 next year, with the routes to be identified by the agency.

The same monthlong reprieve was given to PUV operators in routes with no consolidated transport service entities (TSEs) so “as not to hamper the operation of public transportation.”

READ MORE: 78% of PUJs, UV Express in CV consolidated

Special permits

But those who failed to apply for consolidation before the Dec. 31 deadline “shall no longer be allowed to organize into a juridical entity or join existing consolidated TSEs,” the LTFRB said.

Special permits to operate on routes without consolidated TSEs may also be given to other consolidated TSEs, according to the agency. The permits will be valid for three months after Jan. 31, 2024.

“In no case shall the consolidated TSEs that elect to operate on routes without consolidated TSEs reduce its operations to more than 60 percent of its NAU (number of authorized units) on its original routes,” the LTFRB added.

No extension

President Marcos earlier this month stood firm against extending the Dec. 31 deadline for PUVs to join or organize cooperatives that would be issued consolidated franchises in line with the PUV modernization program. These groups would be entitled to government subsidies, access to credit facilities, and other forms of assistance to help modernize their fleets.

Those who fail to comply with the Dec. 31 deadline, according to the LTFRB, would have their franchises revoked starting Jan. 1 next year.

Several transport groups opposed to the consolidation requirement like Piston (Pagkakaisa ng mga Samahan ng Tsuper at Opereytor Nationwide) and Manibela earlier warned of a transport crisis and their members losing their main source of livelihood should the government insist on implementing the deadline. They also expressed concern that the franchise consolidation scheme might lead to big businesses and corporations monopolizing transport routes.

Piston and Manibela also dismissed the government’s claim that 70 percent of operators had already consolidated their franchises under the PUV modernization program, saying that only 26 percent of passenger jeepneys and 36 percent of UV Express vehicles in Metro Manila have so far complied with the requirement.

READ MORE: Sen. Marcos asks DOTr to abort PUV modernization ‘deadly deadlines’

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TAGS: LTFRB, public transport, PUV modernization program

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