LTFRB restores pre-pandemic transport routes

The Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board yesterday issued a twin order that would expedite the resumption of pre-pandemic public transportation routes to augment the current capacity as schools reopen next week.

Memorandum Circular 2022-067 includes the guidelines for the resumption of operations of non-EDSA city bus routes, while MC 2022-068 covers the return of jeepney routes for both traditional and modernized public utility jeepneys, and utility vehicles express service.

Based on the twin order, a total of 133 routes will be reactivated — 68 for PUJ, 32 for UVE, and 33 for PUB city.

“We issued special permits because we want to beat the opening of classes on Monday. Once the situation normalizes, we will issue them their franchise for the routes,” LTFRB chairperson Cheloy Garafil said in a press briefing.

“We are confident that these routes will be enough. For the city bus routes, it covers 90 percent of the pre-pandemic coverage. In terms of jeepneys, 70 percent of the pre-pandemic will be covered,” she added.

To compliment the increase in capacity, Light Rail Transit Authority — operator of the LRT Line 2 traversing 80 universities, colleges, and schools in its route — said about 2.2 million students will benefit from the government’s free ride program that will run for two weeks.

Relatedly, Garafil said the LTRFB is still awaiting the submission of the National Economic Development Authority of its study that would serve as the agency’s guide in acting on the petition of bus operators and drivers for a fare increase.

She said the agency will balance the welfare of all the stakeholders, including the operators, drivers, and commuters.

The LTFRB chief said increasing bus fare will help operators, who have been affected by the previous series of fuel price increases.

The LTFRB is currently deliberating the joint petition by the Southern Luzon Bus Operators Association, Nagkaisang Samahan ng Nangangasiwa ng Panglalawigang Bus sa Pilipinas, and Samahang Transport Operators ng Pilipinas Inc.

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