By Donna Rempillo
CITY OF SAN FERNANDO, Pampanga – The Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) in Central Luzon reported granting special permits (SPs) to a total of 2,004 units of public utility jeepneys (PUJ), 96 public utility buses (PUBs), 84 units of transport vehicle network service (TVNS) and 100 taxi units to operate in Region 3 under the realm of general community quarantine (GCQ).
LTFRB Central Luzon Chief Transportation Development Officer Atty. Theresa Magtoto said PUBs were given the top priority in the granting of SPs to maximize the transport capacity in Region 3, given limited units allowed to operate in GCQ
“Under the rules we have to follow the hierarchy, so if there will be application from bus operators, they will be prioritized, because under the rules we have to give more priority to those vehicle having a bigger capacity to better implement the social distancing and more passengers to accommodate”. Magtoto said in a phone interview.
LTFRB has opened routes for public transportation, but these would still have to be limited to intra-provincial and intra-regional.
“We opened routes that were available for the buses to apply, but here in the region we are still limited for the buses for intra-regional and intra-provincial. The routes we’ve open were all open for public utility,” Magtoto disclosed.
And while the agency recognized the predicament of a decrease in profit for operators and drivers due to the lesser number of passengers they can accommodate, LTFRB stressed there will be no fare hike during the GCQ period.
“As far as Memorandum Circular 2020-017 is concerned, fares were already set, we have to stick on those. To help operators and drivers, LTFRB is appealing to national government to give fuel subsidy,” Magtoto stressed.
Those who will charge a higher fare for passengers without the approval of LTFRB will be liable for overcharging, and fine P5,000 for each violation.