MANILA – Modern public utility vehicles (PUV) are back on the streets of Metro Manila after the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) on Monday allowed a total of 308 to ply 15 select routes in the area.

The LTFRB, in a memorandum circular dated June 19, said modern PUVs compliant with the requirements set by the Omnibus Franchising Guidelines (OFG) are allowed to ply the 15 routes, with more routes to resume operation within the week.

The modern PUVs included are those operated by groups made up of consolidated operators under the PUV Modernization Program (PUVMP) with valid and existing Certificate of Public Convenience (CPC) or have been granted Provisional Authority (PA) to operate in the National Capital Region (NCR) and other areas included in its route.

“Operators with expired PAs or CPCs who are covered by LTFRB Board Resolution No. 062 dated 29 April 2020, LTFRB Board Resolution No. 100 dated 09 May 2020 are covered by the memorandum circular,” the LTFRB said in a statement.

The routes that began operating on Monday include Novaliches-Malinta via Paso de Blas; Bagumbayan Taguig-Pasig via San Joaquin; Fort Bonifacio Gate 3-Guadalupe-Market Market-ABC Loop Service; Pandacan-Leon Guinto; Quezon Avenue-LRT 5th Avenue Station; Cubao (Diamond)-Roces Super Palengke; EDSA Buendia-Mandaluyong City Hall via Jupiter, Rockwell; Divisoria-Gasak via H. Lopez; Punta-Quiapo via Santa Ana; Boni Pinatubo-Stop and Shop vice versa; Boni Robinson’s Complex-Kalentong/JRC vice versa; Nichols-Vito Cruz; Filinvest City Loop; Alabang Town Center (ATC)-Ayala Alabang Village; and Vito Cruz Taft Avenue-PITX Loop Service.

By Wednesday (June 24), nine more routes will open — the Bagong Silang-SM Fairview; Malanday-Divisoria via M.H. del Pilar; Parang, Marikina-Cubao; Eastwood, Libis-Capital Commons; Gasak-Recto via Dagat-Dagatan; PITX-Lawton; Alabang-Zapote; PITX-Nichols; and PITX-SM Southmall.

Another set of routes will open by Friday (June 26). These are Quirino Highway-UP Town Center; SM Fairview-Commonwealth via Regalado Avenue; Quezon Memorial Circle Loop; Tikling – Binangonan; Antipolo – Pasig via East Bank Road; Rosario-Pinagbuhatan Pasig; West Avenue-P. Noval via Del Monte; Biñan – Balibago via Manila South Road; Tramo-Sucat; and San Isidro-Congressional Junction Dasmariñas.

“The resumption of PUJ operations in 15 routes in Metro Manila is part of our calibrated response to restore mass transportation in Metro Manila and the adjacent provinces as we transition into new normal, taking into consideration the strict health protocols being enforced to prevent the spread of COVID-19,” LTFRB Chairman Martin Delgra III said.

These health protocols include allowing the use of cashless payments through mobile applications or contactless smart cards, the mandatory wearing of facemasks, disinfecting footbaths for passengers before boarding, and strict social distancing which limit maximum passenger capacity to 50 percent.

Meanwhile, modern PUVs plying the identified routes during the General Community Quarantine (GCQ) in Metro Manila must “properly display the existing fare matrix for the information of passengers”.

For non-aircon modern PUVs, there will be a minimum fare of PHP11 for the first four kilometers and PHP1.50 for each succeeding kilometer. For airconditioned units, the minimum fare for the first four km remains the same, with PHP1.80 for each succeeding kilometer.

UV Express to resume operations within June

A technical working group, composed of representatives from the Department of Transportation (DOTr) and the LTFRB, was about to conclude the guidelines for the resumption of UV Express in Metro Manila.

Delgra said the group has been exercising “extra prudence” to come up with guidelines that will govern operators and drivers of UV Express units under the GCQ.

“We are exhausting all efforts to balance our mandate in transportation with our responsibility of helping prevent the spread of COVID-19. That is why we are observing a gradual and calculated approach for the resumption of public transportation particularly in areas under GCQ,” Delgra said. (PNA)