Old jeepneys can operate beyond 2020 but with conditions – DOTr

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, November 20)— Old but roadworthy jeepneys can stay on the road beyond 2020 under certain conditions, according to the Department of Transportation (DOTr).

In a message to reporters Wednesday, the agency said old jeepneys are still allowed to operate after June 30, 2020, given that they pass the motor vehicle inspection system (MVIS) or the road worthiness test. These include emission and safety tests.

Old unit operators should also file a petition for consolidation on or before the said date and “express their petition to modernize.”

However, if operators fail to do so, their routes will be made available to other interested applicants.

Senator Grace Poe, the Senate public services panel's chairperson, earlier welcomed the move not to automatically phase out old jeepneys.

"This is for their sake. This is a lot more pragmatic for us, expedient. That if it is still plyable, if it’s safe, and doesn’t have any adverse emissions, that it be allowed and it will also save a lot," Poe said Wednesday during the Senate deliberation on DOTr’s 2020 budget.

She added that the DOTr admitted during budget hearings that it has modernized only 1.5 percent or 2,550 of the country's jeepneys, three years into the controversial PUV modernization program.

The department, however, clarified that the government’s modernization program will still push through.

The program, which plans to phase out old jeepneys and UV Express service vehicles by 2020, has been tagged ”anti-poor" because of its heavy cost to jeepney drivers and operators. It has sparked a number of nationwide transport strikes but the government has stood by the program.

In an earlier media briefing, the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board gave a different figure. It said a total of 18,000 units -- more than 5,000 of which are jeepneys -- have complied with the program since it was signed in 2017.

CNN Philippines Correspondent Joyce Ilas contributed to this report.