MANILA — Even if a jeepney is over 15 years old but still complies with roadworthy requirements, it should still be given the chance to operate.
Senator Grace Poe, chair of the Senate Committee on Public Services, made this remark Monday, urging the Department of Transportation (DOTr) to compromise with transport groups on the rollout of the jeepney modernization program next year.
“They say, let’s compromise a little bit. If the jeepney is roadworthy, it means it’s safe. Second, if they pass safety emissions tests, they might also be allowed,” Poe told reporters in an interview after she met with both the DOTr and jeepney drivers and operators group to discuss the issue.
It may be recalled that Poe called for a dialogue between DOTr and jeepney drivers and operators group, following the latter’s threats to hold another nationwide protest against the government’s program.
Poe said it would be difficult if there would be a complete phaseout of around 270,000 jeepneys because it would affect the millions of commuters who rely on jeepneys as a primary mode of transportation.
She, instead, recommended that the DOTr consider piloting its program in certain areas.
Transport groups present during the Monday Senate hearing on the jeepney modernization plan claimed there was lack of consultations, particularly on the program’s guidelines.
“I would want there to be pilot projects. It should not be done all at once, in all areas. Those that are not road-worthy really need to be phased out, but jeepneys that can still run should be allowed,” Poe said.
Poe added she would consider calling for another dialogue to clarify other issues that were not given answers to, such as whether drivers and operators would be able to afford millions in loans for new jeepneys.
She asked the DOTr to reconsider the “high unit cost and burdensome financing terms” to be extended to jeepney driver-operators. PNA-northboundasia.com