11,000 Metro Manila PUVs back by Monday
MANILA, Philippines — Some 11,000 buses, jeepneys and UV Express vehicles (UVEs) are expected back in the streets of Metro Manila and its outskirts on Monday, plying 133 “non-Edsa” routes that avoid the capital’s busiest avenue, in time for the return of in-person classes after a two-year pandemic break.
The Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) announced on Wednesday that 68 prepandemic routes would reopen to jeepneys, 33 to city buses, and 32 to UVEs all over the National Capital Region, effective Thursday.
But drivers and operators will only get to start using those routes after a few days upon securing a special permit from the LTFRB.
Operators of public utility vehicles (PUVs) may obtain their permit to use the routes by presenting their existing certificate of public convenience (CPC) or their application to extend its validity. Operators of modernized jeepneys and UVEs, on the other hand, must present a motion for extension of their provisional authority to operate.
LTFRB Chair Cheloy Garafil explained that the agency opted to give transport operators a quicker path to approval through the special permits, which could be processed in a day or two, “so we can beat the opening of classes on Monday.”
Applications for the regular permit, or the CPC, “will take time” getting processed, she admitted.
Operators may apply for the special permit beginning Thursday, and since Quezon City will be on a holiday on Friday, applications will be accepted until the weekend, Garafil said.
“Once our situation has normalized, that’s the time we will announce to them that they can apply for their CPCs,” she told reporters in a virtual press briefing.
The new routes were made official under two memorandum circulars signed by the LTFRB board.
Most of the routes will give passengers access to major thoroughfares, such as España Boulevard and Taft Avenue, and other areas with a high concentration of schools, including those near Manila’s University Belt.
Among the reopened bus routes are Sapang Palay in San Jose del Monte, Bulacan, to the Parañaque Integrated Terminal Exchange (PITX) via Quezon Avenue; Fairview Nova Stop to PITX via East Avenue, Timog and Quezon Avenue; Biñan, Laguna, to Plaza Lawton in Manila; Angono, Rizal, to Quiapo via Cubao.
90% prepandemic routes
Traditional PUJs may take the following routes: Manila Central University in Caloocan City to Pasay Rotunda via Taft Avenue; Pasig to Quiapo; SM North Edsa to Katipunan Avenue via C5 Avenue; and Fairview Dahlia to Pier South via Regalado, Commonwealth Avenues.
Some of the reopened routes for UVEs include SM Bicutan to Lawton; UP Technohub to Buendia; Tanza, Cavite, to PITX; and SM Southmall to Ayala Center.
“We are pretty confident that these routes are enough with the existing units we have since for the city bus routes, 90 percent of these routes are prepandemic routes that won’t pass by Edsa,” Garafil said.
She earlier said the bus routes would not pass through Edsa, as the major thoroughfare was already being served by the Edsa Carousel Busway, a bus rapid transit line that runs from Monumento in Caloocan City to PITX.
As for the possible expansion of the Edsa Busway to accommodate more commuters, Garafil said the LTFRB would meet with the concerned bus consortia to propose an additional 100 buses on the fleet.
“This week, we don’t expect [the units along Edsa Busway] to increase and considering that the busway does not have any nearby schools,” she said.
“In our opinion, we don’t think the PUVs will have a hard time with these new routes since these were their old routes,” Garafil said.
She reminded PUV operators and drivers to observe strictly the mandatory 20-percent discount on fares for students.
Meanwhile, the LTFRB has yet to make a decision on whether to raise bus fares.
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