A UV Express terminal in Cubao, Quezon City.

MANILA – Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) chairman Martin Delgra on Wednesday said UV Express vans and traditional public utility jeepneys (PUJs) will be allowed to resume transport operations in Metro Manila starting next week.

“[They could start operating] next week for both UV and traditional jeepneys… For Monday may bubuksan na mga UV Express (UV Express [vans] will be allowed), and then followed by the traditional jeepneys,” Delgra said during the virtual meeting of the House Committee on Metro Manila Development.

He, however, did not specify when exactly would traditional PUJs be allowed to ply Metro Manila roads.

Delgra said the LTFRB is following a “hierarchy”, wherein transport modes with higher passenger capacity will be prioritized such as trains, buses, and modern public utility vehicles (PUVs) as long as minimum health standards are observed.

The LTFRB has allowed at least 308 modern PUJs to ply 15 select routes in Metro Manila as of Monday, 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.

“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,” Delgra 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.

Earlier, Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said UV Express vans have a higher chance of resuming transport operations compared to the traditional jeeps.

Roque said unlike PUJs with seats that make passengers face each other, UV Express vans have seats that let passengers face one direction which minimizes the risk of coronavirus disease infection.

He said both the UV Express vans and PUJs will be tapped if the current modes of public transportation are not enough to send commuters to their respective destinations.

“It’s the convenience of the riding public that is being considered. If what we have is not enough then it will surely be allowed. I think the UV Express stand a better chance than jeepneys,” he said in an interview over ABS-CBN News Channel’s Headstart. (PNA)ia