Random Thoughts

Transport modernization is here

By Leonardo Micua

 “WOW”, one or two netizens posted on social media, in reacting to an earlier Facebook post made by fellow media man Ike Pallinar who took photos, through his cell phone, of a fleet of brand new and air-condition taxis that will soon take commuters from Dagupan to any point of Pangasinan without any hassle at all, except perhaps the usual bottlenecks along many roads.      

Another positive reaction came from our Facebook friend and real friend retired PhilHealth Vice president Ernesto Valencerina, who posted: “Magaling talaga c Mayor Belen”.

Of course, those taxis are not Belen’s and she’s no longer the mayor. They belong to the Bonuan Transport Service Inc., one of the many enterprises in Pangasinan and Region 1 that responded to the challenge posed by the PUV Modernization Program being implemented nationwide by LTFRB.

She was at the helm when Dagupan was picked by the Department of Transportation as the pilot area in Region 1 for PUV Modernization. She did her assignment well by stimulating the private sector to support this national initiative and succeeded.   

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The emergence of modern taxis to serve commuters in Dagupan and Pangasinan is actually long overdue. Their appearance for the first time in many decades, had excited Dagupeños and Pangasinenses no end.

Those who are perhaps unimpressed about it are only the few who still prefer to ride on old, worn out and smoke-belching public utility jeeps and mini-buses.

Paraded in the streets of Dagupan along with the other modern public transport vehicles in Ilocos region last Thursday during the Modern PUV Nationwide Simultaneous Launch, these taxis definitely caught the people of Dagupan by surprise.

The Bonuan Transport Service Inc. only acquired an initial fleet of 10 modern taxis, with the other 20 set to be delivered by the supplier in a few days. (The 30 units are actually the units allocated for Dagupan and Pangasinan under the PUV Modernization program set to be implemented in full by LTFRB in 2020 or a year from now). 

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According to Alan German, executive director of SDP Development and Consulting, the company that owns and operates the Dagupan Transport Terminal, the facility is now opened but its full operations would take one or two more months.  (Alan is the son of well-known public relations practitioner Relli German who once served as Erap’s press secretary who I met and worked with when I was a senior new editor of PNA).

Alan said the terminal is compliant with all the regulations of the national and local government, built in accord with the President Duterte’s directive to decongest traffic in all key cities, including Dagupan. (Dagupan has a standing ordinance prohibiting terminals within 200 meters of city intersections and the terminal, according to him, is the only one not violating this edict).   

By 2020, all the old jeepneys still running along the road shall have all been retired and replaced with modern jeepneys that are environment-friendly, definitely bigger and wider and equipped with wi-fi and hopefully an air-conditioning system for the comfort and convenience of paying passengers.

As a provisional authority to operate was already granted by LTFRB, the initial 10 units of taxis are set to operate as soon as LTFRB finishes the calibration of their fare meters.

By the way, taxis, owned by separate transport groups, were also launched by LTFRB in other parts of the country during the Simultaneous Modern PUV Launch that should remind us that LTFRB and the Duterte government mean business.

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For the the millennials’ info, there were taxis that operated in Dagupan streets in the 60’s and early 70s. But these taxis breathed their last after martial law.    

We remember that on many occasions then neophyte Congressman Joe de Venecia called for a press conference in his home in Bonuan Binloc, I was constantly a part of a newspaper crew that boarded a taxi cab to those presscons. Those were the days!

When the late broadcaster Max “Tartariwa” Mendiguarin was still alive, he often reminisced how it was as the operating officer of the old taxi company that operated in Dagupan. The taxis eventually went to oblivion with the entry of motorized tricycles in the mid-70s in Dagupan.

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