LTFRB kicks off PUV driver training program

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The iconic jeepney, an evolution of U.S. military jeeps in World War 2, has remained largely unchanged for decades.

Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, August 18) — The days of speeding buses, "flying" jeepneys and snooty taxi drivers may be numbered.

That's the goal of the Department of Transportation (DOTr) when it launched Thursday the Driver's Academy, a nationwide program to professionalize drivers of public-utility vehicles (PUV).

WATCH: LTFRB to impose training for all PUV drivers

DOTr Undersecretary Tim Orbos told CNN Philippines on Friday that regional offices of the Land Transporation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) nationwide will set up a Driver's Academy which will offer free seminars to improve the skills of drivers.

The program will have four core modules: anger management, road courtesy, traffic rules and the terms and conditions of a franchise.

"This is not just a launch, but a start of one of the major programs of the agency, which aims to upgrade the competence, skills, and enhance the character of our public utility drivers," LTFRB chairman Martin Delgra III said in a statement.

The program was designed by the LTFRB,  Land Transportation Office (LTO), University of the Philippines, Ateneo de Manila University and De La Salle University.

Orbos said PUV drivers will go through all four modules in the day-long course, and must pass a written exam if they already have a professional driver's license.

Those who pass will be issued an identification card, which they must display in a prominent area of the vehicle. The ID will state that the person is fit to drive a PUV.

Orbos said drivers have to take the exam every year. If they fail the written exam, they may take it again. But if they fail, a second time, they must wait a year to take the exam again.

Orbos said there will be no practical exam.

"The written exams will take care of itself," he said. "Driving ability will be tackled by the LTO."

The DOTr said 659 PUV drivers were in the pilot class of the Drivers' Academy.

During registration, PUV drivers will also be asked to register and fill out a driver's information sheet, which would eventually be part of a database.

The Driver's Academy comes amid a massive overhaul of the public transport system through the PUV Modernization Program, which was launched on June 19.

Read: Jeepney modernization program kicks off next month

The program will assess PUV franchises that will expire in the next few months to see if they are compliant with the Department Order known as the Omnibus Guidelines on the Planning and Identification of Public Road Transportation Services and Franchise Issuance.

It highlights the local public transport route plan, and outlines vehicle specifications and operator requirements.

Related: DTI unveils plans for modern jeepney

The program is expected to end in 2020.