IN line with the Department of Transportation’s (DOTr) Public Utility Vehicle Modernization Program (PUVMP), Beep Transport Chairperson and President Atty. Vigor Mendoza II on Thursday said they are now acquiring at least 300 modernized jeepneys, which will be leased out to both school service providers and jeepney operators to transport thousands of students in Metro Manila with face-to-face (F2F) classes expected to begin this November.
With the COVID-19 pandemic severely affecting operations of school shuttle services in the country after students adopted blended learning as a precaution against the deadly virus, Mendoza said the additional fleet of modernized jeepneys to be leased out would guarantee that students will have a “convenient” way of going to school and returning to their homes safely.
“Meron tayong programa that we hope to put together, mga tatlong daang units with the help of our investors na eto namang 300 units na ito ay ipahihiram, i-lease out sa mga operators both school service providers at tsaka yung mga jeepney operators na merong shuttle agreement sa mga eskuwela,” Mendoza said in an interview in Quezon City.
“Nawala kasi etong mga school service operators sa merkado eh. So, in order to prepare for the opening of classes na face-to-face eh magkaroon ng bagong sigla etong shuttle at saka school service providers,” he said.
Mendoza, however, said that with school shuttle services operators having contracts with schools and with some parents already paying in advance for their services, they still don’t know the payment method when a student will ride or avail of the services of a modernized jeepney.
“Hindi pa natin alam kung ano ang magiging way ng pagbayad but of course we would like to use automatic fare collection (AFC) systems para mas madali rin para sa magulang kaysa monthly-monthly. Maganda rin yung dahan-dahan mong binabayaran hindi yung bigla ‘di ba? Baka mahirap at this time. Parang ang atin pay as you use,” Mendoza explained.
“Who knows mamaya may lockdown na naman. Yung sa BeepRides card as you use it, you pay for it. Eh ‘di ganun lang,” he pointed out.
AFC system is a smartcard-based “contactless” back-to-back solution for payments and fare collection for buses and jeepneys. Instead of paying the fare directly through cash, ticket vending machines are used through online services or other methods.
The automatic fare collection system is important because they make public transit affordable. AFC systems have also allowed agencies to provide their riders with “best fare” options that are transparent and valuable.
During the same interview, Mendoza said they are “confident” that everything will be ready by November as they have investors prepared to provide the funding.
In a meeting with more than 30 investors at a restaurant in Tomas Morato, Mendoza said participants expressed their willingness to work with them to ensure a better transportation system in the country.
“We have enough time to put the funding together. Kita mo naman kanina very enthusiastic yung mga investors natin. Yes, ang magiging… ilang buwan na natin pinag-planuhan ito pati ‘yung choice of vehicle so, hindi rin lang naman isang provider yan, hindi lang isang supplier ng vehicle ‘yan, multiple ‘yan para makaya talaga,” Mendoza said.