Cagayan de Oro rolls out modern PUV fleet December 15
CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY – The Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) Northern Mindanao (Region 10) launched today this city's first modern transport system that will ply the national highway route starting December 15.
The Oro Transport Services Cooperative (Orotsco) acquired 15 modern coasters as their first fleet for the government's Public Utility Vehicle Modernization Program (PUVMP).
Valeriano Constantino, Jr, chairman of Orotsco, said that it used to be sad to accept that the old traditional jeepney would vanish from the streets. "Not only because of the sentimental value but also the losses of the every day income remitted by our drivers," Constantino said.
Orotsco first became a public transport coop in 1987 and through the years grew to serve public tranport drivers.
"That is the reality because we have to tranform, accept the challenges of change, we have to innovate and tranport the tranport system of the jeepney sector," Constantino said.
Only 10 of the 15 of the coasters will have airconditioners. Orotsco general manager Samuel Abello said that that decision is to provide options for those who do not like riding in airconditioned vehicles.
"The non-airconditioned ones are for the riding public who come from public markets, carrying them food items which may put off fellow passengers because of the smell," Abello said.
The new vehicles are equipped with close circuit tv (CCTV), automatic fare collection system (AFCS), a GPS, and wifi onboard.
The interior has spacious room, there is a 6 feet headroom, and it can carry 23 seated passengers and 5 standing. There are also hand grabs available.
During its test ride from Plaza Divisoria to Barangay Bugo, the city's easternmost barangay, commuters found the new vehicles as refreshing and very good.
Zhe Bañes, a student at the University of Science and Technology in Southern Philippines (USTP) along with her 4 classmates, was among the first to take the free ride. "This is very good, the space is good, airconditioned too. Very refreshing," Bañes said.
Joel Cael also praised the new transport system. "It should be like this. We deserve this, not the old jeepneys," Cael said.
Another commuter asked why it took so long for the government to implement the plan. "This should have been implemented a long time ago," the commuter said.
The current development route provided by the LTFRB is from Barangay Bugo to Igpit, Opol, Misamis Oriental in the western part.
It has 2 routes:
- Route one is Bugo-Gusa-Coastal road-Agora Terminal-Kauswagan-Puntod Bridge-Westbound terminal-Seven Seas resort-Igpit-National Highway eastbound-Gaisano/Ayala Mall-Bugo.
- Route two is Bugo-Lapasan-Gaisano/Ayala Mall-Igpit-Seven Seas-westbound terminal-Agora Terminal-Coastal Road-Gusa-Bugo.
But according to LTFRB Region 10 director Aminoden Guro, based on this city's Local Public Tranport Route Plan, there are at least 32 routes in the city that would consolidate all old routes.
"We have consolidated all routes into the LPTRP and this address the city's need of modern tranport," Guro said.
In Mindanao, there are 3 cities which already have a modern transport system in place – General Santos, Butuan and Cagayan de Oro. But the biggest fleet is in this city.
Abello said that the coop's initial investment was just P35,000 for each unit while the government subsidy is P80,000 per unit as equity.
The Development Bank of the Philippines provided the loan of P35 million to Orotsco for the 15 vehicles payable in 7 years.
Abello said that the each unit cost P2.33 million pesos.
More units needed
Abello said that Orotsco would acquire more units as the demand increases. "We need to adopt because we are serving the commuting public," Abello said.
As a drivers-operators owned cooperative, Orotsco is employing members as drivers of the units which they project would operate 16 hours a day with just a respite at dawn.
Guro said that once the operators and drivers overcome their resistance, the LTFRB is expecting a surge of cooperatives availing of LPTRP routes and the modern vehicles.
"With the new vehicles running by December 15, 2019, the riding public will experience a safe, convenient, accessible transport system which would benefit the people," Guro said. – Rappler.com