A new design to fix the death traps on the road
The Pinoy Jeepney is a symbol of our nation’s resilience and ingenuity in the face of adversity. It’s been one of the nation’s biggest cultural symbols since the post-war years, as well as one of the most unique and recognizable vehicles plying our roads. They’re also rolling death-traps with bald tires and no safety harnesses, smoke-belching engines and untrained drivers. We’ve all been quietly ignoring the fact that we need to replace these vehicles (which ferry a majority of the people in the metro) but no more – the government is now trying to design a better, safer jeepney in accordancce with the DOTr’s Public Utility Vehicle (PUV) Modernization Program, which begins next month.
The initial design unveiled by the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) is a big step forward in both safety and reliability of the venerable jeepney. The biggest change? Moving the entrance of the vehicle from the back to the side, and replacing the side-facing seat to front ones, which also allows it to have modern seat belts for safety. The new jeep will be able to accommodate 22 passengers.
The redesigned jeep is timely, since the DOTr is looking to phase out PUVs that are over 15 years old, replaced with vehicles with low-carbon and low-emission technology. According to the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB), there are currently 204,000 jeepneys operating nationwide, with a whopping 75% of those being over 15 years old.
The design of the new jeep is not final, and the DTI says that the designs are all initial sketches that are open to public comment until August 2017 before being submitted to the DOTr. After that, it’s up to the DOTr to decide where and how the new jeeps will be manufactured.