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Thursday, July 25, 2024

Iloilo province allows more jeepneys to ply city during peak hours

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ILOILO CITY —The Iloilo Provincial government has conducted discussions with the city government to allow more jeepneys to enter Iloilo City during peak hours.

Governor Arthur Defensor, Jr. spearheaded discussions with the city government.

The first town jeepneys, which include routes from Leganes, Pavia, Oton, San Miguel, and Santa Barbara within Iloilo Province, faced restrictions under the recently implemented Enhanced Local Public Transport Route Plan (ELPTRP).

This plan, part of the government’s Public Utility Vehicle Modernization Program, initially limited city entry to just 25% of jeepneys from these areas. The reduced access led to significant passenger complaints and congestion at city boundaries.

In response to the restrictions, several jeepney drivers from the first towns staged a two-day transport holiday on June 3 and 4, causing significant inconvenience to commuters traveling from the province to Iloilo City for work.

This disruption prompted Defensor to convene an urgent meeting with the Iloilo City Government, the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) Western Visayas, and representatives of the affected jeepney operators to find a solution.

Jeepney drivers expressed their concerns arguing that the limited access was insufficient to cater to passenger demand, especially during peak commuting hours. The drivers also pointed out that restricting their entry to perimeter terminals was not a viable long-term solution.

After extensive negotiations, an agreement was formalized on June 7 in the boardroom of the Iloilo Provincial Capitol. The agreement, signed by representatives from both the city and provincial governments, as well as first town jeepney cooperatives, stipulates the following:

40% Peak Hours Access: During peak hours, from 6:00 AM to 9:00 AM and 4:30 PM until midnight, 40% of the first town jeepneys are permitted to enter Iloilo City.

25% Off-Peak Access: From 9:01 AM to 4:29 PM, 25% of the jeepneys will have access to the city.

Weekend Regulations: On Saturdays, 40% of the jeepneys are allowed city entry throughout the day. On Sundays, 100% of the fleet can operate in the city to accommodate weekend passenger traffic.

The agreement also mandates specific loading and unloading protocols to minimize congestion and avoid competition with city-based jeepneys. First town jeepneys are allowed to drop off passengers in the city but cannot pick up passengers within the city limits, except for outbound trips. The drivers must adhere to a dispatching system to ensure organized and efficient entry into the city.

“Iloilo City Traffic Management Unit Co-chair retired Colonel Uldarico Garbanzos emphasized the importance of following designated unloading zones and the dispatch system to ensure smooth traffic flow and prevent disruptions.”

Governor Defensor highlighted the need for modernizing transportation to keep up with developments in other countries. “Our provincial government is committed to transportation modernization to ensure we are not left behind in progress and development,” he stated.

The new agreement took effect on June 4, marking a significant step forward in resolving the transportation challenges faced by first town jeepney operators and ensuring smoother commutes for the residents of Iloilo Province.

The agreement represents a collaborative effort between local governments and transport operators to balance modernization goals with practical solutions for daily commuters. It sets a precedent for addressing similar issues in other regions, showcasing a model for proactive and cooperative problem-solving in public transport management.

*Photo Caption: Iloilo Governor Arthur Defensor, Jr., LTFRB Western Visayas OIC, Atty. Salvador Altura, Jr., and Iloilo City Traffic Management Co-Chair Ret Col. Uldarico Garbanzos signing the agreement between the Iloilo Provincial Gov’t and Iloilo City Gov’t regarding the agreement allowing 40% of first town jeepneys from Iloilo Province to enter Iloilo City.

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