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Additional transport options to be offered weekly based on passenger demand

By:  Krixia Subingsubing 

The Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) plans to offer more routes “every week or every other week” for all modes of transport in Metro Manila depending on commuter demand.

Zona Tamayo, LTFRB-National Capital Region director, said on Wednesday this was part of the agency’s “partial, calibrated and gradual approach” to reopening public transport.

The more open approach to mobility was announced after the House committee on Metro Manila development asked both the LTFRB and the Department of Transportation to hike the number of public utility vehicles (PUVs) in the streets to up to 30 percent, and then by 10 percent every week.

“At the moment, only 10 percent of all public transport are allowed to resume operations but the directive from the different agencies and local government units is to increase transport in different areas,” Tamayo said.

So far, around 212 routes for all modes of public transport, including buses, UV Express vans and jeepneys, have been opened since the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases eased quarantine restrictions in the metropolis.

But two months in, commuters continue to struggle to get to work as some areas in greater Metro Manila like Rizal and Cavite provinces, among others, still suffer from a dearth of public transport options.

Feeder routes

To fix this, Tamayo said they would partially reopen some “feeder routes,” or those that cater to short trips and feed into bus routes.

“But as I said, we’re following a gradual, calibrated and partial approach to reopening transport, so we don’t know yet how many exactly we will be reopening in the next weeks,” she added. “But definitely, whether it be by 30 percent (as suggested by the House committee) or 10 percent, we will adjust the number of PUVs.”

The increase will apply “across all modes of transport” and not just to traditional jeepneys, she clarified.

So far, Tamayo said the reopening of more jeepney routes has been successful, with fewer hitches arising compared to the first batch of jeepneys that returned to the streets on July 3. At that time, some jeepney drivers failed to resume plying their routes due to some confusion over the distribution of the required quick response (QR) codes.

BACK ON THE ROAD Plastic dividers help passengers maintain physical distancing in a jeepney plying the Tandang Sora-Quezon City Hall route. An additional 1,943 passenger jeepneys returned to the streets on Wednesday to ply 17 new routes across Metro Manila. (Photo by GRIG C. MONTEGRANDE / Philippine Daily Inquirer)

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