The Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) has allowed more than 4,800 traditional public utility jeepneys (PUJs) to ply the additional routes recently opened to ferry more commuters amid the reduced capacity in public transport.

Under LTFRB’s Memorandum Circular 2020-058 released last week, a total of 4,820 traditional jeepneys have been authorized to operate in 44 Metro Manila routes.

000 8Q33CC - LTFRB allows over 4,800 traditional jeepneys in 44 more Metro Manila routes
In this photo taken on September 8, 2020, a jeepney driver wearing a face shield sits next to a plastic divider as he waits for passengers to board his vehicle in Manila. – Many face the new normal in the Philippines, where it is now compulsory to wear both face masks and plastic shields in indoor public spaces and on public transport to curb the spread of the COVID-19 coronavirus. (Photo by Ted ALJIBE / AFP) / TO GO WITH Health-virus-Philippines,PHOTOESSAY

This brings the total number of traditional PUJ routes approved by the LTFRB to 302, covering 27,016 units since the enforcement of a general community quarantine in the National Capital Region on June 1.

The LTFRB said that it continued to assess more routes to be opened to accommodate more passengers as many workers continue to go back on the road as the economy reopens under a more relaxed community quarantine. 

The following routes were added by the agency based on the latest memorandum: 

1. Bagong Silang – SM Fairview via Maligaya 

2. Bagong Silang Kaliwa – Robinson Fairview Zabarte 

3. Balintawak – Camarin via Susano 

4. Balintawak – Lagro via Novaliches 

5. Balintawak -Novaliches via Quirino Highway 

6. Kiko Camarin – SM Fairview via Maligaya Park 

7. Malinta – Malolos, Bulacan 

8. Aurora/Lauan – Quezon Memorial Circle

9. Angono – Araneta Cubao 

10. Binangonan, Rizal – Marcos Highway 

11. Buso-Buso – Marikina 

12. Cubao, Quezon City – Angono 

13. Edsa Shaw Blvd. – Morong 

14. Edsa Shaw Blvd. – Tanay 15. Marikina – Pinugay

16. Arroceros – Project 7 via España

 17. Baclaran – Blumentritt via L. Guinto, Sta. Cruz 

18. Baclaran – Blumentritt via L. Guinto, Quiapo 

19. Baclaran – P. Campa via L. Guinto 

20. Balintawak – Blumentritt via A. Bonifacio 

21. Balut – Divisoria 

22. Cubao – Remedios via Quiapo L. Guinto 

23. Dagat-Dagatan – Divisoria Ilaya via Lapu-Lapu Ave. 

24. Dapitan – Delos Reyes/P. Campa via Dimasalang 

25. Divisoria – Pier South via Delpan 

26. Edsa/Shaw Central – Kalentong/JRC 

27. Frisco – Vito Cruz via Mabini, Quiapo 

28. Malanday – Pier South via McArthur Highway 

29. Malanday – Recto via F. Huertas, Oroquieta 

30. Malanday – Sta. Cruz via Huertas, Oroquieta 

31. Cubao (Mercury) – Roces/Super Palengke 

32. Alabang – FT1 via South Super Highway 

33. Baclaran – Moonwalk via Quirino 

34. Baclaran – Nichols via CAA 

35. Baclaran – Zapote (Las Piñas) 

36. BF Homes Subd. – Ikot via Vinmrt (Sucat)Term 

37. Brgy. Ayala/Alabang – Alabang Mkt and Vice Versa 

38. Alabang – Balibago 

39. Alabang – Bitian, Laguna 

40. Alabang – Carmona 

41. Alabang – GMA 

42. Alabang – Langgam, San Pedro

43. Pacita Complex – Sucat, Parañaque 

44. Talon – Molino Bayan 

Based on the data from the LTFRB, the Board has so far approved more than 80,000 units of various public utility vehicles since the implementation of the GCQ. 

This includes the 845 modern PUJs to ply 48 routes, 4,016 public utility buses in 34 routes, 387 pointto-point buses in 34 routes, and 3,263 UV Express units in 76 routes. 

The transport regulatory body also approved a total of 20,927 taxi and 24,356 Transport Network Vehicles Services (TNVS) units to ferry passengers in the capital region. 

The LTFRB had earlier opened 12 routes for provincial buses to service 286 units, as well as two routes for modern UV Express covering 40 units. 

One-seat apart

 As more PUV routes are opened, the government has agreed to implement a one-seat apart rule in public transportation, effectively scrapping the one-meter distance in line with further reopening the economy during the coronavirus pandemic. 

Other recommendations of the economic team to gradually expand operational capacity of businesses, allow more people to leave their homes, and shorten curfew hours in “priority areas” have also been approved during President Duterte’s meeting with the Cabinet Monday. 

“Tumutok ang meeting kung paano mabuhay muli ang eonomiya dahil sa COVID-19 at kahapon po inaprubahan ng Gabinete ang lahat ng rekomendasyon ng economic cluster (The meeting focused on how to revive the economy due to the COVID-19 and the Cabinet approved all the recommendations made by the economic cluster),” Presidential spokesman Harry Roque said during a Palace press briefing Tuesday. 

Among the Cabinet economic cluster’s recommendations is to open a sufficient number of safe public transportation following expert’s guidance on minimum health standards, according to Roque. 

“Inapubrahan ng Gabinete na sa pambuklikong transportasyon oneseat apart na po ang distansya (The Cabinet approved a distance of oneseat apart in public transportation),” he said. 

For public transportation, Roque explained that it would begin with one seat apart and gradually increase capacity or allow seating together with plastic barrier or use of UV light.

The government previously implemented a one-meter distance between passengers in public vehicles to avoid the coronavirus infection. 

It originally wanted to impose a 0.75 meter distancing rule to allow more people to reach their workplaces but drew criticisms from health advocates due to potential transmission of the illness.

 Also approved by the Cabinet is the proposed expansion of the rail capacity to 30 to 50 percent, expansion of provincial buses, motorcycle taxi, shuttle and TVNS, and accelerated use of service contracting to expand bus and jeep. 

Roque said the seven commandments or health measures must be strictly enforced when using public transportation. 

These are wearing of face masks , wearing of face shields, no talking and no eating, adequate ventilation, frequent and proper disinfection, no symptomatic passengers, and appropriate physical distancing. (With a report from Genalyn Kabiling)

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