By Alexandria San Juan
More than 31,000 taxis and ride-hailing units were given the green light by the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) to resume its operations in Metro Manila on Friday, following its shift to general community quarantine (GCQ).
Based on LTFRB data, a total of 31,719 units were allowed to ply the metropolis again beginning Friday. Of the number, 18,818 are transport network vehicle service (TNVS) units like Grab, while 12,906 are taxis.
The LTFRB reiterated that there are no fare adjustments upon the resumption of operations of the approved units, and payments should be cashless and contactless in line with the memorandum earlier released by the Board.
Under LTFRB Memorandum Circular 2020-018, the agency mandated the resumption of taxis and TNVS on areas under GCQ while implementing cashless or digital payment options to further contain the spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) through limiting physical contact.
The agency also reminded drivers and operators to strictly observe health and safety protocols included in the memorandum such as the mandatory wearing of face masks and gloves, regular disinfection of units after every ride or every two hours, and installation of non-permeable and transparent barriers.
According to the LTFRB, the maximum passenger capacity of three, apart from the driver, should also be followed based on the guidelines of the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases and the Department of Transportation (DOTr).
Links of the lists of approved units were uploaded by the LTFRB on its website and Facebook page.
Taxis and TNVS were among the modes of public utility vehicles authorized by the DOTr to resume operations on the first phase of public transport revival in areas placed under GCQ.
Also allowed to operate at limited capacity during the first phase from June 1 until June 21 were all train systems and bus augmentation units, taxis, point-to-point (P2P) buses, and bicycles.
While, all public utility buses, modern jeepneys, and UV Express will be permitted back on the road for the second phase which will run from June 22 to June 30, also with limited passenger capacity.
All modes of public transportation were suspended when the enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) was enforced in Metro Manila mid-March and continued under modified ECQ.