Department of Energy secretary Alfonso Cusi is seen behind the wheel of the first-ever electric-powered “Green Jeepney” developed by QEV Philippines during a confab in Metro Manila, onboard are other government officials. DOE

THE Department of Transportation (DOTr) is rolling out around 200 units of modern jeepneys next week under the PUV Modernization Program, days before President Rodrigo Duterte’s State of the Nation Address (SONA).

“‘Yung modernization ng ating public transport … before SONA. Next week po, maglalabas po kami ng higit kumulang 200 units ng mga sasakyan,” Transportation undersecretary for roads Thomas Orbos said in an interview on the sidelines of the Philippines Bus and Trucks 2018 Exhibition in Pasay City.

The units will be rolled out in seven routes across various cities of Metro Manila.

Under the PUV Modernization Program, passenger jeepneys 15 years and older will be replaced by environment friendly and fuel-efficient units, with an exit door on the side of the vehicle and a bigger body to accommodate more passengers.

The DOTr is targeting to launch around 3,000 units by the end of the year, Orbos noted.

“The target … is 180,000 units in three years,” he said.

The program is targeted to go in full swing by 2020. The Development Bank of the Philippines (DBP) is providing P1.5 billion to kick-start program.

Despite protests from various transport groups, Transportation secretary Arthur Tugade said the program will proceed this year as planned.

Last month, the DOTr launched the first batch of modern jeepneys with an initial 15 units rolled out in various routes covering Star City/CCP to PICC, and GSIS/Senate to MOA to the Parañaque Integrated Terminal Exchange and back. (GMA News)

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