5 common questions (and answers) to the jeepney modernization program

We’ve heard about the jeepney modernization program many times before on social media. We compiled a short FAQ to explain both sides of the polar equation.

Why do jeepneys need to modernize by 2020 anyway?

The Department of Transportation (DOTr) launched the PUV Modernization Program in 2017 to make public transportation in the country more efficient and environmentally-friendly. Their initial solution was to phaseout old jeepneys completely and to replace them with modern ones but they eventually changed it to letting old jeepneys operate as long as they pass the motor vehicle inspection system (MVIS) annually. 

Instead of going through the MVIS every year just to be able to operate, why don’t jeepney drivers just modernize now? 

Jeepney drivers earn an average of P500 to P600 a day. The modernized jeepney the government wants them to get costs about P1,600,000 to P1,600,000. Even if commuters have to pay a higher fare, the cost of the modern jeep will take years for operators to pay off.

But modernization is good for the environment! Why don’t jeepney drivers just do it? 

It’s good for the environment, yes, but jeepney drivers and operators will suffer the brunt of this transition. The program has been tagged “anti-poor” because of this. Perhaps if the DOTr planned better and set realistic targets instead of simply expecting jeepney driver who earn day by day to comply, the modernization will be more feasible. 

Did the Department of Transportation fail to achieve their target? 

Back in October 2019, the DOTr was 97% behind their target modernized vehicles. 85,000 modern jeepneys are needed, but only 2,595 units were in operation at that time. The original deadline for this was July 2020. The deadline was then extended to June 30, 2023. However, PUV groups had a transport strike to to express their opposition to the modernization. Operators appealed to give them more time to shift to modern jeepneys. Hence, the deadline was extended until December 31, 2023.

How has the current pandemic affected the move to modernize jeepneys? 

Because of the pandemic, jeepney drivers lost their source of income during the community quarantine. It was only recently that jeepney drivers were allowed to operate. However, not all of them can ply the roads because the modernization program is still underway. Only those deemed roadworthy are allowed under general community quarantine, leaving a lot of jeepney drivers to fend for themselves. 

Looking for ways to help of jeepney drivers affected by the pandemic and the modernization program? Here are some donation drives you can donate to! (READ: Donation drives to help jeepney drivers affected by the pandemic )


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