House resolution seeks to gauge socioeconomic impact of traditional jeepney phaseout


A leader of the House of Representatives has filed a resolution directing the House Committee on Transportation to conduct an inquiry on the adverse socioeconomic impacts of the planned jeepney phase out without adequate government support. 

In House Resolution 801, House Committee on Ways and Means chairman Joey Sarte Salceda said the sudden phaseout of traditional jeepneys will result in increased car use, which will ultimately lead to more road congestion and pollution, especially as jeepneys only generate about 0.33 kg of carbon per capita per day, whereas even the most efficient car will generate some 2.3 kg of carbon per capita per day.

The Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) has issued Memorandum Circular (MC) No. 2023-13 directs that traditional jeepneys, which have not been subject to franchise consolidation by March 31, 2023, shall only be allowed to operate until June 30, 2023. 

The same MC also directs that traditional jeepneys that “cooperativize” by March 31, 2023 shall be allowed to have their franchises renewed until December 31, 2023. 

But Salceda said the same MC is not accompanied by a study or by an impact and contingency analysis for the 96,000 jeepneys, which may lose their franchises. 

Salceda said the PUJ operators and drivers were the hardest-hit during the implementation of Covid-19 pandemic restrictions, with as much as P102 billion in PUJ revenues is being foregone during the lockdowns.

The lawmaker said the same MC appears to ignore the potentially adverse consequence of a total traditional jeepney phase out in 2023, which will displace some 11.5 million daily jeepney commuters who will instead need to take other modes of transport, including our already congested rail systems, the limited transport network vehicle service system, and private cars and motorcycles.

The sudden phase out ignores the reality that among provinces, PUJs remain the primary mode of public transport between municipalities, he said. 

The LTFRB announced that deadline for traditional jeepneys to consolidate has been extended by to December 31 from June 30. 

Reverse gear

Every policy comes with a “reverse gear,” but House Deputy Speaker Ralph Recto believed President Marcos Jr. did not apply it on the jeepney modernization program “as he merely stepped on the brakes.” 

Recto said the “pause” ordered by the President, which moved the deadline for jeepney owners to comply with the Public Utility Vehicle Modernization Program (PUVMP) to the end of the year, should give government time to improve the program.

What should also be reviewed is the imposition of “expiry dates” on PUVs, Recto said.

“The President is correct when it comes to cars, age is not the only factor: maintenance is,” the lawmaker said.

In addition to lowering the financial bar to ownership, Recto also called for a larger government subsidy on new units.

“This is a nation awashed in taxpayer subsidies. If you regularly ride the MRT and LRT on weekdays, subsidized ang fare mo ng P14,500 a year,” Recto said.

“I challenge the DOTr to release the projected per passenger fare subsidy of the subway. Is it correct that it will cost P150 per ride? How much is the average taxpayer subsidy for a SUC student? Pre-pandemic at P73,000 each,” said Recto. 

The present P160,000 government subsidy per new unit “is what we spend a year on the free college of just two students, or about 10 families enrolled under 4Ps,” Recto said. 

Recto said billions of TESDA funds could be used in upgrading traditional jeeps, with the latter serving as learning material for tec-voc students mentored by experts.

The conservative estimate is that the 200,000 traditional jeeps in the country ferry 25 million passengers a day.

“They are the ‘Everything, Everywhere All At Once’ ride. They provide essential services yet treated as eyesores. Improve them. Don’t make them extinct,” he said.

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