The public transport situation in Metro Manila may improve somewhat in the next few days.
Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) chairman Martin Delgra III recently confirmed that UV Express units and traditional jeeps will be allowed to ply routes starting next week.
During the June 24 hearing of the House Committee on Metro Manila Development, the top LTFRB official said that UV Express and traditional jeepneys will be allowed soon, at least for Metro Manila.
“The timeline on the deployment of modern jeepneys would be finished by Friday. So we are looking forward to UV Express and traditional jeepneys to follow as well. Next week po. For Monday may bubuksan na mga UV [Express], and then followed by the traditional jeepneys,” confirms Delgra.
GETTING BACK ON THE ROAD
In mid-March, all forms of public transportation were suspended when NCR was placed under enhanced community quarantine. As the quarantine levels eased, the Department of Transportation (DOTr) put forth a plan to gradually reopen public transportation services, but placed restrictions on the allowed number of passengers and required added sanitation measures.
Under the two-phase transportation hierarchy system, public transport was allowed to operate gradually with priority given to modes that can carry more passengers. Phase One that ran from June 1 to 21, allowed the services of trains, P2P buses, taxis and TNVS to resume.
Phase Two, scheduled from June 22-30, saw the return of more city buses and modern jeeps. Some buses replaced jeeps in the new, rationalized routes set by the LTFRB. Next week, UV Express units will be allowed before traditional jeeps can be given the green light.
“Ngunit tandaan, kahit hindi bago o traditional jeepney pa ‘yan, kung papasa naman sa road worthiness standards, papayagan pa rin po ‘yang tumakbo,” reminds DOTr Asec. Asec. Goddes Hope Libiran on a social media post.
As of the moment, tricycles are allowed to operate subject to rules and supervision of respective local government units but provincial buses are still barred entering Metro Manila. In compliance with social distancing measures, all forms of public transportation must operate at a reduced capacity.
PUV MODERNIZATION DEADLINE EXTENDED
Recently, transport groups and operators have been under immense pressure to comply with the government’s Public Utility Vehicle Modernization Program (PUVMP). They cited the steep costs of new units and other difficulties as barriers for entry. In response, the government extended the deadline that was initially set at June 2020.
“Filing for consolidation is extended until December 31, 2020. If they fail to consolidate, their Certificate of Public Convenience (CPC) will be cancelled but they may file for Provisional Authority (PA), which is good for one year, renewable for a similar period of one year, until they, or some Transport Service Cooperative (TSC) or Corporation, would qualify (consistent with the requirements of PUVMP) to run the route,” Delgra concludes.
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