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PUVs need to be upgraded

Dave Achondo

THE funny thing about this government is that it doesn’t punish people who are really worth punishing.

Take for instance the two-day nationwide transportation strike. Some drivers and operators of public utility vehicles forgot or were unware that they are not allowed to participate in any strike stipulated in the terms and conditions of their franchises. So they did participate.

What happened? Like any other transport strike in the past, it was just given the cold-shoulder by the public.

The Land Transportation and Regulatory Board is not serious about the rules. Officials there are lenient.

How would anyone take rules and regulations or laws seriously if the people who are supposed to enforce them are always looking the other way? They say it’s illegal for operators and drivers to participate in strikes, and yet they allow it to happen. Were the terms and conditions in the franchises of PUV operators a joke, signed only for formality’s sake?

Most PUV drivers and operators are not allowed to join any protest action that could disrupt the flow of mass transportation as stipulated in their franchise, Aminoden Guro, LTFRB director for northern Mindanao, pointed out. Did Guro lie about this? I doubt it.

Guro did warn that those caught participating in the disruption of public transportation would be sanctioned. He said the penalty is backed up by precedents as several drivers and operators found to have joined transport strikes in the past had been fined.

If so, why are they still continuing to do so? The Oct. 16-17 transportation strike was participated by operators and drivers, both directly and indirectly. Do they even plan to chase these people? Good luck.

If you ask me, LTFRB is just too lenient like any other government agency. That may be “good news” to some. But then again, how would people respect this department if it has no guts to do what it is supposed to do?

PUV operators seem to be afraid of development and to go to unchartered territory. If they fear it that much, they should fix their pieces of junk, buy new engines — not surplus engines that have already reached their limit — and signal lights, among others.

In my life, I have yet to see a jeepney with a dashboard with working warning lights or indicators and speedometers. These tell a lot about the condition of the car. Bana-bana nalang lugar ta ani?

Jeepneys should level up like any other things. Fear of development can only hinder productivity and prevent public vehicles from becoming at par with the latest technology.

We can see jeepneys being driven all over town with exhaust smokes blacker than night, with no signal lights among other things. The owners have done nothing to fix these. They are milking the heck out of these vehicles until they give up.

PUV owners do not give a damn about their drivers as long as they make a profit, and in return, this is reflected on their drivers who do not give a damn about their passengers’ safety and comfort as long as they reach their “boundaries.” Greed is the reason.

Like any other thing in this world, everything needs to change and adapt. The fear that Pinagkaisang Samahan ng mga Tsuper at Operator Nationwide have regarding the phaseout of old jeepneys and the pending PUV modernization program has no merit. Operators have already profited for so long. They even placed the burden on the shoulders of their drivers who try their best to achieve their quota. What? Can’t they afford securing loans for brand new jeepneys?

I think 20 years was enough for operators to purchase new jeepneys. And to add, I see it unfair to taxi operators who buy brand new vehicles every 13 years to meet the LTFRB’s requirements. Meanwhile, jeepney operators make do with junk.

The drivers are not the ones who should be worried about the development. It’s the dirt cheap operators who refuse to acknowledge development in the first place. The government itself is giving them the opportunity to secure loans for brand new vehicles. So they should stop complaining and jump on the chance. It’s as if they didn’t secure loans when they bought their jeepneys.

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About Dave Achondo

A person who enjoys doing what he does best – writing anything under the sun; strong-willed and straight to the point.

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