Thousands of jeepney drivers attended a protest caravan from Quezon Memorial Circle to Mendiola last Monday. The rally is in relation to Department of Transportation's (DOTr) plan to phase out jeepneys and small franchises – which is said to affect 650,000 drivers and 250,000 operators.
According to Business World, jeepneys that are 15 years and older must be replaced. With this, holders of Certificates of Public Convenience are required to acquire new low-emitting and low-carbon units (electric jeepneys perhaps?). However, transport group PISTON argued that it would cost millions of pesos for operators to comply with this scheme.
Moreover, DOTr’s plan includes new requirements where an operator must have a minimum of 20 jeepney units, which is said to be doubled by 2019. Aside from this, a P7 million capital will be needed for a franchise to operate. Furthermore, creation of new franchises and opening of new routes are also part of the said scheme.
Currently, a proposal is being studied under House Bill 4334 (Traffic Crisis Act of 2016) and Senate Bill 1284 (Traffic and Congestion Crisis Act of 2016). This “route rationalization” proposes road designations for public utility vehicles like jeeps, buses, and tricycles, under the authority of the Department of Transportation (DOTr).
On the other hand, PISTON president George San Mateo told InterAksyon.com that drivers and operators are not the ones who will be affected by this scheme, but the growing population of the commuting public.