Officials and members of the Novaliches-Malinta Jeepney Transport Service Cooperative (NMJTSC) are waiting anxiously for the delivery this month or early next year of the second batch of 29 air-conditioned electronic or e-jeepneys allocated to them under the government’s Public Utility Vehicle Modernization Program (PUVMP).
This was learned over the weekend from Helen R. Viloria, general manager of the NMJTSC, who earlier told the Philippine News Agency (PNA) that they have been allocated a total of 124 units of the Hino Euro 4-compliant vehicles under the PUVMP of the administration of President Rodrigo R. Duterte.
She said that they are now also training their passenger assistant officers in preparation for the forthcoming use of the beep card payment system in their operation.
Beep card is commonly used on the Light Rail Transit (LRT) Lines 1 and 2 and Metro Rail Transit (MRT) Line 3 operations in Metro Manila.
Twenty-three units of the said vehicles started operating last Nov. 9 on the Novaliches-Malinta route, a distance of nine kilometers from the former Novaliches town proper to MacArthur Highway in Barangay Malinta, Valenzuela City.
Passengers are charged PHP19 for the straight ride, higher by PHP4 compared with PHP15 in the ordinary or regular (non-airconditioned) public utility jeepneys (PUJs).
The minimum fare in the air-conditioned jeepneys is PHP11, which compares with PHP9 in the PUJs.
Senior citizens, students and persons with disabilities (PWDs) are given a 20 percent discount.
Viloria said the modern jeepneys are driven by professional drivers who have been trained at the Philippine National Driving Academy based in Biñan City, Laguna. They are accompanied by courteous and helpful conductors or conductresses.
Aside from being air-conditioned, the modernized jeepneys are equipped with a television set, closed-circuit television (CCTV) camera, and Global Positioning System (GPS).
Onie Reponia, head of the Information Technology (IT) section of NMJTSC, said the GPS enables them to track their vehicles from their office anywhere within the nine-kilometer route along Gen. Luis St. or old Novaliches-Polo Road, passing through Barangays Novaliches Proper, Nagkaisang Nayon, Caybiga, Bagbaguin, Paso de Blas, Canumay, and Maysan.
Meanwhile, daily commuters have hailed the operation of the modern jeepneys along the Novaliches-Malinta route.
They said they are no longer under the mercy of regular PUJ drivers, who often cut their trips between Novaliches and Malinta by changing signboards several times, particularly during the rush hours in the morning and evening.
The modern jeepneys carry only one reversible normal-sized signboard with the word “Novaliches” on one side and “Malinta” on the other side, plus a small signboard with the word “Bayan” which is displayed on the windshield of the vehicle to indicate that it is headed for Novaliches proper from Valenzuela City.
Passengers of the air-conditioned jeepneys, however, are not allowed to carry plastic bags and similar containers with fish, meat and foul-smelling foodstuff or objects. (PNA)