THE Mandaue City Government is set to open this year four new intracity routes for modern jeepneys with the completion and approval of its local public transport route plan (LPTRP).
The Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) on March 12, 2021 awarded Mandaue City a notice of compliance (NOC) for completing the plan, the first in Central Visayas region.
Under the plan, four new intracity routes will soon be served by Class 2 PUJs or electric jeepneys (e-jeepneys).
These are: CICC to Banilad and Cabancalan route; CICC to Cabancalan and Banilad route; Tintay, Talamban to CICC/Parkmall route; and Parkmall Loop via D.M. Cortes.
Mandaue City Mayor Jonas Cortes said the NOC will allow the City to grant franchises to modern vehicles in the four identified routes.
“It is our hope that these new routes and franchises will help the Mandauehanon commuters and other public transport users move from one place to another with ease or convenience. It is also our hope that these modern jeepneys will help us lower our carbon emission and ease traffic congestion,” Cortes said during the ceremony.
The base fare for these modern jeepneys is expected to increase as it will be standardized nationwide, said LTFRB 7 Director Eduardo Montealto Jr.
He said the riding public has the right to appeal the fare adjustment, but asked that they consider the earnings of the drivers and operators.
Under the LPTRP, drivers will no longer be “hand-to-mouth” workers as they will become salaried employees with mandatory government benefits such as Social Security System, Pag-Ibig, and PhilHealth.
Cortes sought to assuage the traditional public utility jeepney (TPUJ) sector, saying there will be a transition period before the City Government fully implements the plan.
Montealto said that under the LTFRB agreement with the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (Tesda), a skills enhancement or “Tsuper Iskolar” program will be offered to TPUJ drivers and operators.
All family members of TPUJ drivers and operators are qualified to benefit from this program, which offers more than 150 courses.
While undergoing training, Montealto said each participant will be given an allowance of P350 per day.
He said some TPUJ drivers who enrolled in this program landed overseas jobs after obtaining an NCII certificate while some applied as technicians at a motor parts company.
The spouses of the drivers are mostly enrolled in the food processing course.
Mandaue City Councilor Jimmy Lumapas, chairman of the committee on transportation, sponsored a draft ordinance adopting the LPTRP on March 10. The measure was passed on first reading on the same day.
It was endorsed to the committee on laws and ordinances, which will endorse it for second reading and final reading.
After approval on final reading, the City Government will open the bidding for the transportation services provider.
Meanwhile, Montealto said other local government units (LGUs) in Central Visayas have also submitted their LPTRP.
He said there were minor corrections to Lapu-Lapu City’s plan.
Cebu City’s plan, on the other hand, was only about 60 percent complete because of possible changes in the Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) routes, he said.
As mandated by President Rodrigo Duterte, LGUs are required to craft an LPTRP as part of the public transportation modernization program, which is aimed at addressing traffic congestion and pollution. (KFD)