By Alexandria Dennise San Juan
The Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) has opened a total of 31 rationalized routes in Metro Manila to public utility bus operators upon transition of the region to general community quarantine (GCQ).
In an announcement on Tuesday, the LTFRB said there are at least 4,600 slots open for buses that will be authorized to ply the 31 routes around the capital region.
Of the total number of slots, the LTFRB said that 550 are allotted for units that would traverse the special route of EDSA to Parañaque Integrated Terminal Exchange (PITX), or the EDSA Loop Service.
Other routes include Monumento-Balagtas; Monumento-PITX; Monumento-VGC; North EDSA-Fairview; Quezon Avenue-Angat; Quezon Avenue-EDSA Taft; Quezon Avenue-Montallban; Cubao-Montalban; Cubao-Antipolo; Cubao-Doroteo Jose; Gilmore-Taytay; Kalentong-Pasig; Buendia-BGC; Ayala-Alabang; Ayala-Biñan; Ayala-FTI Complex; Monumento-EDSA Taft; PITX-NAIA Loop; North EDSA-BGC; Monumento-Meycauayan; Monumento-SJDM; Monumento-Angat; PITX-Sucat; PITX-Alabang; BGC-Alabang; PITX-Naic; PITX-Trece Martires; PITX-Dasmariñas; PITX-General Mariano Alvarez; and PITX-Cavite City.
Based on LTFRB’s Memorandum Circular 2020-019, interested bus operators who want to apply should have units that are currently registered and with valid Personal Passenger Insurance Policy.
The bus should also be equipped with a navigation system and preferably with an automatic fare collection system for cashless transactions in a bid to “minimize, if not, avoid the risk of exposure to COVID-19,” the LTFRB added.
Units must also not be more than 15 years old, while those who will apply for the EDSA Loop Service should be a low floor, low entry bus with two doors, and must be air-conditioned.
“These bus units should also contain markings at the front and sides which would serve as identification scheme. The markings will display codes and colors depending on their route, number, and classification,” the agency added.
Under the circular, PUBs were also required to give forms to passengers to be filled out with necessary information such as name and contact details for contact tracing upon resumption of its operations.
If approved, the units will be allowed to operate once Metro Manila shifts into GCQ as scheduled on June 1 but in a limited capacity and provided that strict safety and health measures are in place.