The Pagkakaisa ng mga Samahan ng Tsuper at Opereytor Nationwide (PISTON) called on jeepney drivers and operators to continue plying their routes in defiance of the government’s deadline on franchise consolidation.
On the first day of the New Year and prohibition of operation of unconsolidated jeepneys, the transport group urged fellow transport workers to claim their right to livelihood for their families and commuters.
“Public transportation is a public service that should serve the people and not the few. Let is claim our right to the roads. Let us hold accountable the incompetent, oppressive and puppet [Ferdinand] Marcos Jr. regime accountable,” PISTON said in a New Year statement.
Several jeepneys were seen still plying their routes along Commonwealth Avenue and Pasig City poblacion in the morning of 20024’s first working day Tuesday, January 2.
Traffic had been light and passenger numbers have sparse on both locations, Kodao observed.
PISTON warned that a public transport disaster would befall major cities once commuters start returning to their jobs or schools.
Transport authorities on the other hand sought to downplay the effects of the banning of traditional jeepneys on the roads saying they are open to extending permits as long as operators commit to surrendering their individual franchises to transport cooperatives or corporations.
PISTON said the government Public Utility Vehicle Modernization Program (PUVMP) is only aimed at handing over their livelihood to local and foreign capitalists.
The group added the PUVMP will result in higher fares for commuters and lower incomes for drivers and operators who will likewise incur huge debts.
New vehicles approved under the program cost around P2.5 million. # (Raymund B. Villanueva)