DAGUPAN AS PILOT AREA FOR E-JEEPNEY
DAGUPAN City Mayor Belen Fernandez threw her support behind the Jeepney Modernization Program of the government but expressed concern that jeepney drivers/operators may be not able to afford the estimated P35,000-P40,000 monthly amortizations for the e-jeepney.
Fernandez admitted during her radio program “Tatak UnliSerbisyo” that the modernization program will be viable if the government can arrange with an extended period for the amortization, from seven to fifteen years to arrive at a lower monthly rate.
She said while the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) which is keen on making Dagupan as pilot area in Region 1 for Jeepney Modernization, she will have to consult jeepney operators/drivers first to evaluate their response and reaction to the planned monthly amortization rate.
The mayor explained that the jeepney drivers are breadwinners of families so their plight will have to be considered and extending the period of amortization to at least 15 years will be more viable for them.
An e-jeepney will cost P1.2 million and could be availed of by any jeepney driver at a monthly amortization of P35,000 to P40,000 for a period of seven years.
She said the P35,000 to P40,000 monthly amortization is too high for drivers to bear and would leave nothing to support their families.
She also suggested an increase in planned P80,000 subsidy for the driver availing of the program.
Nonetheless, the mayor said the jeepney modernization is necessary because some of the jeepneys running along the streets in Dagupan are already more than 20 years old and pose risks to passengers’ safety.
She recalled the jeepney plying the Bonuan-downtown route that burned in the street two weeks ago.
With the e-jeepney, she said, there will be also lesser pollution in the streets because these are powered by electricity but asked government to ensure that spare parts of e-jeepneys are available, particularly batteries and cables. (Leonardo Micua)