CEBU CITY (PNA) – A total of 1,355 traditional jeepneys will be allowed to operate here anew despite the existing modified general community quarantine (MGCQ), Mayor Edgardo Labella on Tuesday said.

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Mayor Edgardo Labella (Facebook / FILE PHOTO/ MANILA BULLETIN)

In a press briefing, Labella said the council ad hoc committee, headed by Councilor James Cuenco, recommended the number out of the total 5,000 jeepneys plying the city routes before the community quarantine.

However, these jeepneys will still be thoroughly evaluated by the same committee to determine their compliance with the regulations set forth by the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB).

The evaluation is set for October 30 to November 3.

“And if they are found to be fit and complied with the regulations, then they can start,” he said.

The Cebu City Traffic Office will hold a seminar for the drivers and operators of the jeepneys before they will be allowed to operate again, Labella said.

“They will also undergo rapid testing,” he added.

Labella also reminded the operators and drivers to religiously follow the government regulation covering public transport like the wearing of face mask and face shield, not allowing talking and answering the phone, not allowing eating onboard the vehicle, maintaining proper ventilation, disinfection after every trip, temperature check and disallowing symptomatic passengers and observing passenger distance of one seat apart.

LTFRB-Central Visayas Regional Head Eduardo Montealto supported the move of the city to evaluate first the jeepneys before allowing them to return to the city streets.

He said the local government unit knows best about the number of workers returning to their respective workplaces that need to ride public transport.

Montealto, however, reminded operators and drivers to impose stricter measures on health protocols aligned with government-issued guidelines.

He said Cebu is still in a national health emergency and reopening the economy should not compromise the health and safety of the people.

Labella said the city can assist drivers whose jeepneys are not included in the 1,355 to be allowed back to apply in other transport companies in Cebu.

Meanwhile, LTFRB Chairman Martin Delgra on Tuesday appealed to Cebuanos to support and patronize the public utility vehicle (PUV) modernization program of the national government.

In an interview during a virtual presser of the Office of the Presidential Assistant for the Visayas, he said modern PUVs are suited for Cebu as many of the roads in the province are narrow.

“It’s a bit complex because your roads there are narrow. We’re talking here of road transport planning, infrastructure, and traffic engineering. We need also to look at traffic congestion as an issue as well as the volume of passengers to be served,” Delgra said.

He said the PUJ modernization seeks to protect the welfare of the passengers as well as the drivers.

He said in modernizing jeepney operation, the government seeks to rid of the “boundary system” which does not afford drivers with ample protection.

“We want the drivers to have a stable income,” he said.

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