Piston-Cebu to LTFRB: Suspend March 2023 deadline for PUJ franchise consolidation
CEBU CITY – A local transport group is calling for the suspension of the mandatory consolidation of jeepney franchises, claiming that operators and drivers still cannot comply with the directive.
Greg Perez, chair of the Pagkakaisa ng mga Samahang Tsuper at Operator Nationwide – Cebu (Piston-Cebu), led the formal filing of the petition before the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) regional headquarters in Cebu City on Monday.
The petition was also filed in different areas of the country by their affiliated organizations.
The LTFRB has set a March 2023 deadline for franchise holders to consolidate or join existing cooperatives and corporations in order to continue with their jeepney operations.
In a statement, Piston-Cebu cited several reasons in calling for the suspension of the March 2023 deadline for compulsory franchise consolidation and the purchasing of modern jeepneys.
For one, the group said there was no direct consultation with drivers and operators on the Public Utility Vehicle Modernization Program.
The group said the operators still cannot afford to purchase modern public utility jeepneys which is at least P2.4 million per unit.
“They cannot meet the qualifications set by the banks to borrow money,” Perez added.
Operators also refused to consolidate their franchise since they have doubts about the results of the government program.
The group also said that the operators and drivers have yet to recover from the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic which was worsened by the rising cost of fuel and other commodities.
In its petition, the group wants a five-year extension in the mandatory consolidation of franchises.
The group also wants to bring back the five-year validity of franchises whether traditional or modern jeepneys.
The group continued their calls for financial assistance to drivers and operators in the form of fuel subsidies.