LTFRB eyes fixed pay for jeepney drivers
The Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) is working on giving jeepney drivers fixed salaries under the public utility vehicle (PUV) modernization program to improve their livelihood and also ease traffic.
During the launch of the omnibus franchising guidelines (OFG) on Monday which effectively lifted the 14-year ban on the issuance of new public transport franchise, LTFRB chair Martin Delgra III said the agency would soon come out with a memorandum circular outlining how the fixed salary scheme would work.
Currently, most jeepney drivers earn through the boundary scheme. Under this system, they must first make at least P900 to pay the operator for the use of the jeepney. Whatever is left will be their take-home pay.
Delgra said the scheme has led to bad practices like reckless driving as drivers race against each other to get more passengers. He added that the sprouting of illegal jeepney terminals was only one of the reasons for heavy traffic, particularly in major urban areas.
Asked how much the LTFRB would propose as salary for jeepney drivers, Delgra said this was still under discussion although it would certainly be “above [the] minimum [level].” In the National Capital Region, the minimum wage is pegged at P454 while in the provinces, laborers earn at least P235.
According to Delgra, jeepney operators should also stop worrying that jeepney drivers would be less eager to get more passengers. He said that this was where the dispatch system would come in handy since jeepneys would be deployed only depending on passenger demand.
Under the OFG, jeepney operators will be required to form cooperatives before they are given a new franchise. This is a departure from the current “one franchise, one operator, one unit paradigm” which the LTFRB described as “very inefficient.”
Cooperatives, Delgra said, would address the problem of a particular route having an oversupply of jeepneys, adversely affecting the income of both drivers and operators.
Before a new franchise can be released, however, local governments should submit to the LTFRB their respective public transport route plans. To qualify, operators must also have jeepneys that are either Euro 4-compliant or run on electric or renewable energy.
But Mark de Leon, assistant transportation secretary for road transport, said they were still working with the Department of Trade and Industry’s Bureau of Product Standards on the final design for the modern jeepney.
He added that the Department of Transportation would also hold a competition for local manufacturers for the best jeepney design.
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