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LTFRB heeds drivers' call, extends franchises of 25K traditional jeepneys

The Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) on Monday decided to extend the franchises of some 25,000 traditional jeepneys in Metro Manila, according to GMA Integrated News' Joseph Morong.

It was the fourth time the franchises, which were supposed to expire on April 30 this year, were extended, Morong said on Twitter.

According to LTFRB chairman Atty. Teofilo Guadiz III, they have yet to finalize the details regarding the rules and regulations that would govern the extension.

The LTFRB said the extension will give jeepney drivers and operators more time to join or form cooperatives which is required under the government's jeepney modernization program.

The program aims to replace traditional jeepneys with vehicles powered by more environment-friendly fuels.  Operators and drivers can apply for new franchises, but as part of transport cooperatives.

The LTFRB earlier said it is better for a jeepney driver to be a member of a cooperative because they no longer need to maintain boundaries.

Several jeepney drivers, however, have appealed to the government to give them more time to shift to modern jeepneys.

The decision to extend the franchises was reached following a meeting by LTFRB officials regarding the matter to avert possible shortage jeepneys in the National Capital Region (NCR).

Aside from the fact that not all jeepneys are on board with the modernization program, Guadiz said the lack of public transportation has been taken into their consideration, noting that with the extension, the public would be given more access to transportation.

Guadiz said among the total targeted units, only 60% have undergone the modernization program and 40% have yet to be modernized.

“We do not want to leave anybody so what we want is to have at least 95% on board if we continue this PUV modernization [program],” Guadiz said in a statement.

“However, during the meeting, we will also discuss the possibility to fully implement the modernization program on areas where all jeepneys have already been modernized. But on areas where there are still jeepneys to be modernized, we will still stick to the traditional jeepney,” he added. —KBK, GMA Integrated News