Transport groups Pinagkaisang Samahan ng mga Tsuper at Operators Nationwide (Piston) and No to Jeepney Phase-out Coalition on Saturday asked the public to join them on Monday to protest the government’s plan to phase out aging public utility vehicles (PUVs).
The two groups said they will hold a candlelight vigil at 5 p.m. Sunday at the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board central office in Quezon City and a transport strike on Monday.
Transportation Secretary Arthur Tugade will sign the Omnibus Franchising Guidelines next week that will govern the issuance of public transportation franchises.
The transport modernization program of the Department of Transportation, which includes a plan to phase out old jeepneys, intends to make public transport safe and convenient for commuters. It also aims to reduce air pollution as well as to eliminate from the streets vehicles that are not authorized to transport commuters.
Piston argued that the government’s plan to junk old jeepneys to replace them with modern versions like electric-powered units will displace drivers who are currently using old units.
Earlier this month, George San Mateo, Piston president, said the phase out of old units will result in higher fares because the cost of replacing jeepneys with cleaner and more fuel-efficient units —Euro 4 compliant engines or electric engines — is extremely high.
He added an operator of an electric jeepney fleet should have 20 units and a capitalization of at least P7 million under the modernization program.