Why PUVs cant have a ‘Sweet 16’


D3---PUV-Article20151027In light of the worsening traffic jams and greater concerns over air pollution, the government has been formulating and implementing policies to lessen the number of vehicles on the road.

One of these policies is the “phaseout” rule that places an age limit on vehicles that are allowed to operate on public roads. This has primarily been imposed on public utility vehicles (PUV) with records from the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB), showing that the agency has been attempting to enforce this rule since as far back as 1996.

“There is still opposition toward the implementation of the modernization policy, particularly from the bus industry,” said LTFRB public information officer Mary Ann Salada in an email to Fast Times.

Transport groups have long opposed the policy because of the financial burden that the purchase of new vehicles would put on PUV operators, especially smaller companies and sole proprietors.

“To date, there are cases filed before the courts seeking to nullify the modernization policy of the board,” Salada said.

The agency won one of those cases on March this year when the Court of Appeals upheld a January 2013 resolution that the LTFRB issued strictly implementing the phaseout rule for buses and jeepneys that are over 15 years old from their dates of manufacture.

Prescribed age limits
Salada said age limits must be imposed for the safety and convenience of passengers. PUVs are subject to more wear and wear than private vehicles because these are driven longer and carry heavier loads. Some operators even spend less on the maintenance of their PUVs to cut costs.

Besides from buses and jeepneys, Salada said the LTFRB is strictly implementing the phaseout rule on other PUVs based on their dates of manufacture:

UV Express – 15 years;

Taxi (unleaded/diesel) – 13 years;

Taxi (LPG) – 15 years; and

School Service – 15 years.

The agency likewise implements a special phaseout scheme on trucks-for-hire, still based on the date of manufacture:

Phased-out vehicles nationwide
Citing data that the agency compiled for Fast Times, Salada said 12,260 vehicles have been phased out since the initial implementation of the LTFRB’s current modernization policy.

Just over a quarter of these phased-out vehicles are UV Expresses at 3,132 units. Both school services and provincial buses each comprise nearly a quarter of these vehicles at 2,988 and 2,959 units, respectively. Taxis make up over one in five phased-out vehicles at 2,642 units while Metro Manila buses have the smallest share at 539 units.

Phaseout rule for private vehicles
The government has also looked into implementing the phaseout rule for private vehicles, which outnumber PUVs nearly eight to one, according to 2014 motor vehicle registration data from the Land Transportation Office.

On September 2012, then Metropolitan Manila Development Authority Chairman Francis Tolentino said the agency was studying a proposal to phase out all vehicles over 10 years old to address the worsening traffic in Metro Manila. The proposal was never finalized and implemented.

On September 2014, Environment Scretary Ramon Paje called on the Department of Transportation and Communications to impose a 15-year phaseout rule on all vehicles, arguing that older cars consume more fuel and produce more harmful emissions.

This is the same reasoning used by Sen. Miriam Defensor-Santiago in Senate Bill 2834, which was filed on May 2011. The measure was patterned after the “Cash for Clunkers” program in the United States, with vouchers given to owners who must trade in their “high fuel consumption” vehicles (those built prior to 2008 with certified fuel-economy ratings below approximately 7.65 kilometers per lite) for new or used “fuel efficient” vehicles (those built after 2003 in accordance with regulations set by the Department of Energy). The bill never made it past the committee level.

Opponents of these proposed measures argue that private car owners would, like PUV operators, be burdened with cost of buying a newer car. They suggest that the government should instead focus on removing vehicles that are not roadworthy.

So while PUVs can’t go past their 16th birthdays, you can still keep your three-decade-old, “box-type” Lancer on the road, for now.


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