Guidelines on premium PUVs issued
Free internet access, a global positioning system (GPS), a dashboard camera and uniforms for salaried cabbies may soon be regular features in premium taxis under the government’s public utility vehicle modernization program (PUVMP) that has set 2020 as its transition deadline.
Already, the Department of Transportation has released new guidelines to govern the operation of premium taxis to give the riding public a “high-end, yet reasonably priced reliable transport option.”
“As we can glean from the ridership of [transport network vehicles], more Filipinos are now willing to pay a higher amount for cleaner, more modern and convenient taxi services, with mechanisms for commuter safety and feedback,” said Transport Undersecretary for Roads Mark de Leon.
Department Order (DO) No. 2019-007, which is aligned with the PUVMP, requires all public utility vehicles (PUVs) like buses, jeepneys, UV express vans and taxis to shift to Euro-4 powered, industry standard vehicles.
Another highlight of the order is the creation of a silver/gold premium classification of PUVs, depending on the vehicle type.
Other features such as displacement or power rating, leg room and luggage compartment can also affect their classification, according to the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB).
Sedans and utility vans can be considered both silver and gold taxis, while sports utility vehicles fall under the gold category. As such, these taxis should be painted black with silver or gold markings.
The DO also increased the premium taxis’ passenger capacity, with silver and gold sedan cabs and gold SUVs allowed to carry up to four; silver multipurpose vehicles up to six, and up to seven for silver and gold utility vehicles.
As mandated by the DO, these taxis should have free internet access for passengers, GPS and dashboard cameras.
Under the order, premium cab drivers should have regular salaries and benefits, instead of the current boundary system.
“When our drivers are salaried, they do not need to rush on the road to maximize the number of passengers and flag downs they could get in a day. We thus reduce the risk of road accidents,” Transport Secretary Arthur Tugade said.
Drivers would also be required to undergo training as determined by the LTFRB, and must always wear the proper uniforms.
LTFRB Chair Martin Delgra said the agency had yet to issue a memorandum circular in accordance with the DO’s implementing rules and regulations that would dictate, among others, the taxis’ fare structure and date of effectivity.
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