After being kept grounded for at least three months by COVID-19 lockdowns, the so-called King of the Road, or jeepneys, will return to the National Capital Region (NCR) on Friday (July 3).
The Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) approved on Wednesday (July 1) the return of some 6,000 jeepneys on 49 routes across Metro Manila, which will remain on general community quarantine until July 15.
The LTFRB released a memo listing the guidelines for jeepneys, which have been considered a key mode of public transport in Metro Manila, to resume operations.
Jeepneys returning on Friday won’t need special permits but only if they had been declared roadworthy by another agency, Land Transportation Office (LTO), and have active insurance coverage for passengers.
The LTFRB memo said operators, who had already consolidated their fleet or filed petitions to do so, would be given preference in deploying their units back to existing routes.
Operators, who have neither consolidated their fleets nor filed petitions to do so, are required to submit a letter committing to consolidate their fleets before they are allowed to resume their jeepneys’ trips.
The current P9 minimum fare for the first four kilometers still applies.
The memo, signed by LTFRB Chair Martin Delgra, fulfills a promise made by transport regulators to allow jeepneys back on the road to help drivers regain their source of income and bring relief to commuters struggling with lack of public transport.
It required both operators and drivers to comply with health and safety protocols, like wearing masks and gloves at all times in the jeepney, having temperatures checked, regularly sanitizing vehicles and ferrying only half of their jeepneys’ regular capacity.
Drivers must install barriers that would separate them from the passenger section. Barriers must also be installed to separate passengers from each other.
The jeepneys would also be subjected to additional roadworthiness checks unlike other public utility vehicles that are already running.
The memo said jeepneys must be checked for compliance with the Clean Air Act and roadworthiness standards set by the LTO.
The most jeepneys allowed to resume operations will be on the Marikina-Pasig route (349) and L. Guinto-Sta. Ana route (258).