Editorial: New normal for TPUJs

·3 min read

IT APPEARS that the traditional public utility jeepneys (TPUJs) have to pass through the eye of the needle while their big and modern counterparts, buses included, enjoy a bit of leeway. Suddenly, the rules clam up and drivers and operators have to wrestle with a whole wave of rules. “Needs a careful study,” at once becomes the mode of thinking when dealing with the endangered jeepneys.

The Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) initially eyed a trickle of a thousand TPUJs to ply in three cities that are under modified general community quarantine (MGCQ). Cebu City, though, had eyed 1,720 TPUJs out of the 5,044 plying in Cebu City routes.

The agency met with traffic officials and told them that each local government unit may set its own guidelines and requirements before the TPUJs can resume operations.

Initially, the cities of Cebu and Mandaue have required the drivers to first settle their penalties as requirement. If the Mandaue City Planning and Development Office heeds the recommendation of City lawyer Nenita Layese to require the drivers to pay up first, it appears many of the drivers wouldn’t be able to comply, considering the long period that deprived them of their usual means of livelihood. Cebu City earlier had set to open its roads to TPUJs Nov. 12, 2020 provided the drivers and their vehicles have undergone assessment at City Hall and the Land Transportation Office (LTO). The “assessment” would include a review if these drivers have pending penalties for traffic violations last year. The drivers will also have to take an examination to determine their knowledge on traffic regulations. The units’ road worthiness will also be checked.

“After the inspection and all the requirements, they will be given a certification and after all those things, immediately they can already ply their routes,” said Councilor James Anthony Cuenco, chairman of the committee on transportation and the Cebu City Jeepney Task Force.

While the Talisay TPUJs are more than ready to resume their trips to Cebu City, the fleet had to hold themselves since Cebu City would rather deploy theirs that ply within its jurisdiction first.

Talisay City Mayor Gerald Anthony Gullas Jr. had written Cebu City Mayor Edgardo Labella a letter requesting the latter to allow TPUJs running the Talisay-Cebu City routes to re-enter Cebu City. The message came with an assurance that the Talisay TPUJs will comply with health protocols. Talisay’s traffic chief Jonathan Tumulak also assured the city’s TPUJ’s won’t cause traffic in Cebu City since their route only goes as far as the intersection of V. Rama St. corner N. Bacalso Ave.

All these sum up to a stringency that had caused unfair delay in the return of the TPUJs into the cities’ streets while our buses confidently fly, oftentimes leaving a mad record of road accidents.

The Pinagkaisang Samahan ng Tsuper at Operators Nationwide Cebu Chapter had appealed for a moratorium in the settling of penalties as a requirement for the TPUJs’ return to the roads.

The accounts, anyway, won’t be a big strip in the total revenue that the city expects, Mandaue City Treasurer Regal Oliva said. A moratorium hardly makes a dent on the expected revenue collection.

Nothing would be more humane than considering all the appeal that favors the TPUJ drivers. We do hope our officials would be more considerate.