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Streamlining PUVS

Complimentary rather the competing classes

Published

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Public transportation in the Philippines is complicated to say the least. While it’s laudable that there are many ways to get around town, some may argue that they can be redundant.

After all, we have a variety of public transportation vehicles serving overlapping roles. To carry passengers a few blocks, there are tricycles, multicabs, and jeepneys. For longer stretches, there are UV Express point to point vehicles which sometimes serve the same routes as city buses. There are even UV Express vehicles that go on longer routes that are also plied by provincial buses. All these vehicles tend to pile up in busy areas in the city to pick up and drop off passengers, causing a lot of traffic.

The PUV Modernization Program hopes to address this by sorting PUVs into four distinct classes. Each class is designed to carry a specific amount of passengers, travel a certain distance, and in some cases, carry a certain amount of cargo.

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To make these means of transportation complimentary rather than redundant, The DTI, together with automotive industry experts have devised four classes of PUVs, each one designed to serve a particular role.

The specifics are outlined in the Department of Trade and Industry’s Bureau of Philippine Standards (BPS), conceived together with automotive industry experts. The Philippine National Standard (PNS) for PUVs: PNS 2126:2017 specifies dimensional limits for PUVs with strict limits on the seating arrangement and capacity, as well as maximum mass. Also included in the dimensional limits are the vehicle’s overall height, width and length, wheelbase and even front and rear overhang, cabin, seat and seat layout, step board dimensions, service door and emergency exit hatch or door.

Class 1 is intended to replace multicab passenger vehicles. Typically plying smaller cities around the country, this class limits the size of the vehicle to nothing more than the size of an average SUV, requiring a side-loading entrance and limits the passenger capacity to just a handful.

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Class 2 is intended to replace the jeepney, allowing for a maximum of 23 passengers on side-facing seats, enough headroom for passengers to stand in, and appropriate bars and handles to hold on-to. It too will require a side-loading door.

Class 3 is intended for inter-city transport, and is touted to replace the minibus. All passengers must be on forward facing seats with restraints. Like Class 2, it must have the necessary amenities like a side-loading door, and grab handles.

Class 4 is intended to connect rural towns to larger cities. It should be similarly equipped like a Class 3 vehicle with the added requirement of having provisions for cargo. Because it travels long distances, it too should have forward-facing seats for all passengers with restraints.

Besides the class specific requirements, all of them must be powered by a Euro-4 emissions compliant engine or battery electric propulsion. With Euro-4 engines alone, many PUV manufacturers have proven that their models are already 43-percent more efficient than the traditional jeepneys. They should also be equipped with dash cams, speed limiters, CCTV cameras and an automatic fare collection system.

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