Why few jeepneys can return to Metro Manila streets
Only few jeepneys can return to the road in Metro Manila because of difficult requirements set by the national government and conflicting rules laid down by local governments, a transport group said on Tuesday.
Most jeepney routes in the metropolis also remain closed, despite the easing of quarantine restrictions, the Alliance of Concerned Transport Organizations (Acto) said.
More than 13,000 jeepneys have returned to operation as of Saturday, with the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) allowing 1,333 more jeepneys to resume plying their old routes.
But only a fraction of that number can run because most drivers and operators cannot afford to get the quick response (QR) code required by the LTFRB, said Efren de Luna, president of Acto.
De Luna said drivers of jeepneys without QR codes faced a fine of P5,000, which they could not afford, especially because they had been jobless for six months.
Drivers also find it difficult to meet the LTFRB requirement of surrendering their franchises by Dec. 31, he said, referring to the deadline set by the agency for the consolidation of fleets under a public transport modernization program.
De Luna said drivers were also struggling to reconcile conflicting rules set by the national government and the local governments.
For instance, he said, drivers plying routes between Bulacan and Metro Manila have to show permits required by local governments when the LTFRB only requires a QR code.
Major routesDe Luna said the LTFRB had also failed to give priority to the reopening of more important routes used by large numbers of commuters, such as Montalban-Cubao, Alabang-Pasay and Malinta-Novaliches.Also remaining closed are the major jeepney routes MCU/Monumento-Pasay, MCU/Monumento-Divisoria, Monumento-Santa Cruz-Taft-Baclaran, Frisco-Santa Cruz-Pier, Monumento-Santa Cruz-Mabini-Baclaran, LRT Buendia-PRC, Washington-Ayala and Buendia-Guadalupe.
As a result of the prolonged closure of these and other once-busy routes and the absence of aid from the government, many drivers have been reduced to mendicancy or have returned to the provinces, De Luna said. INQ
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