MANILA, Philippines – The Department of Transportation and Communications (DOTC) wants to get rid of old public utility vehicles (PUVs) by imposing a new age limit on all passenger buses, jeepneys and taxis plying major and secondary streets.
The department will also push for a fixed-pay system for bus drivers and is seeking an evaluation of the granting of franchises.
The current age limit imposed on buses is 15 years; 13 years for taxis; and 10 years for AUVs, multicabs and vans. No age limit had been imposed on jeepneys but apparently, the current DOTC leadership now wants jeepneys covered.
“We will increasingly make younger the fleets of buses, jeepneys and taxis on the road. Over time, we will steadily reduce these age limits. Already, for taxis we are engaging the industry so we can implement a fleet age target of seven years,” said DOTC Secretary Manuel A. Roxas II.
This move is also meant to ensure cleaner air and lesser traffic as younger fleets of PUVs ply the roads. “This will equate to less carbon dioxide in the air that we breathe, less breakdown of vehicles and less accidents in our traffic, and for the owners and operators of these vehicles, more fuel efficiency and less operating cost,” Roxas said.
“Accompanying this, we will randomly but rigorously implement drug testing for drivers and emission testing for vehicles. Drug users on the wheels and smoke belchers are both a bane to public safety,” he said.
The DOTC also wants the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board and the Land Transportation Office to determine, for every such route, a demand and supply equation to preclude congested routes and underserved passengers.
“We shall only grant a franchise if there is a demand for it, and we will withhold franchises or employ natural attrition when transport supply exceeds passenger volume. Except for routes that clearly are in need of additional transport capacity, we shall suspend the grant of franchises until this comprehensive assessment is done,” Roxas said.
From the current quota system of compensation for bus drivers, the DOTC, in coordination with the labor department, is going to push for a fixed-pay system. “This will soon be a requirement for obtaining bus franchises, so that bus drivers don’t go battling each other recklessly in search of passengers, posing a danger to themselves, their passengers and other motorists and pedestrians,” Roxas said.
He said the DOTC is also working with the Department of the Interior and Local Government and the Philippine National Police for its anti-colorum campaign.