Service contracting of PUVS approved
THE Department of Transportation (DOTR) may soon implement a service contracting scheme for public utility vehicles (PUVS) to augment the current supply of transport modes as well as help drivers and operators cope with the losses they incurred during the pandemic.
This comes after the Interagency Task Force for Emerging Infectious Diseases approved the said scheme that was proposed by the Economic Development Cluster.
Under the service contracting scheme, the transport department will subsidize public transport operations and incentivize PUV operators to resume operations. This will help serve commuters and restore the livelihood of displaced transport workers.
The budget for the said scheme will be funded by the Bayanihan to Recover as One Act or the Bayanihan 2. Transportation Assistant Secretary for Road Transport and Infrastructure Steve Pastor, said the inclusion of service contracting in the measure was developed in response to the financial constraints experienced by many PUV operators and drivers due to the stringent health and sanitary protocols that must be observed in public transport.
“Due to the limitations imposed on our public transportation, operators and drivers may not be able to sustain their operations. This may lead to inconsistent travel trips causing commuters to compete for rides, while drivers and operators disregard passenger capacity in exchange for more revenue,” he said.
The service contracting scheme will be spearheaded by the land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB), an attached agency of the DOTR.
“The concerned agencies in the transport sector are adamant that safety should not be foregone as we push for economic recovery and mobility of services. Thus, we are pushing for the use of service contracting as these would allow for efficiency of travel and the reduction of transmission,” Pastor said.
LTFRB Chairman Martin Delgra III said his group is now working on implementing the contracting scheme, wherein the government will pay operators and drivers of public transportation units based on vehicle-kilometers travelled and specific performance indicators.
“The new arrangement of service contracts among public transportation will no longer just depend on the number of passengers being carried. We are ensuring that our drivers will be fully compensated for their services, despite the imposed load limitations,” he said.
Those who will be included in the scheme are required to follow the existing healthy safety protocols in public transportation.
Delgra added that a set of qualifications based on road safety has also been prescribed. Contractors and drivers must possess a professional driver’s license and must be driving a service unit confirmed by an operator. PUVS must also pass roadworthiness standards of the land Transportation Office and must not have been involved in any road crash incident in the last two years.
“To ensure fairness as well, we will be employing a third-party monitoring entity to evaluate the total vehicle-kilometers operated, the reliability of their services, driver and vehicle quality and customer satisfaction,” Delgra said.
Performance indicators that will serve as additional basis for payment and the preferred mode of payment on these vehicles are being finalized, he added.