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. 


Ever since the jeepney modernization program was introduced, jeepney drivers and the general public have long argued on the cons brought about by its taxing transition. With several dilemmas—including mounting debts for drivers and fare hikes for commuters—come a series of mass demonstrations that outrightly reject the prospect. 

The “Tigil Pasada” movement initiated by jeepney drivers is consistently executed as a call to cancel the said transition. This has been backed by several groups that represent the jeepney drivers, as they hold protests in recent months.  

Despite going on for years, the prospect—now carried under a new administration—remains firm. Adjacently, the concerns from the masses remain the same: the proposed program lacks sufficient funds and it’s pushing drivers to take hefty loans, which are unlikely to be paid.

Due to the pandemic, the final consolidation deadline was pushed back to December 31, 2023. However, a new memorandum from LTFRB, effective December 25, 2023, substantiates that non-consolidated vehicles will be given a grace period of until January 31, 2024 to operate. 

Supreme Court prompts DoTr, LTFRB for statement 

In December 2023, the Supreme Court ordered the DoTr and the LTFRB to release a statement on a petition that aims to nullify the existing order and circulars related to the PUVMP. 

The said petition is a 57-page black-and-white forwarded by several public utility vehicle operators and transport groups, led by the Pinagkaisang Samahan ng mga Tsuper at Operators Nationwide (PISTON). 

Such motion is followed by a 16-page supplemental appeal from PISTON that seeks to expedite the Supreme Court’s verdict on the issue. 

On top of that, labor groups have also been restless in their pursuit to stop the PUVMP. 

Jose Sonny G. Matula of the Federation of Free Workers has pointed to a “potential negative impact on the freedom of association,” while the Partido Manggagawa releases an estimated figure of 144,000 people in terms of livelihood loss. 

Lastly, Deputy Minority Leader and Party-list Rep. France L. Castro highlights the damage it would inflict on the small jeepney operators, given that they are categorized as micro, small, and medium enterprises. 

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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