By Alexandria Dennise San Juan
The Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) is targeting to open the entire 31 rationalized routes for city buses by June 19 to ease the lack of public transportation under the general community quarantine (GCQ).
“We are meeting a target earlier than the start of Phase 2 because we are looking forward to opening all 31 rationalized city bus routes by June 19,” LTFRB Chairman Martin Delgra III said in a virtual Laging Handa briefing on Tuesday.
All public utility buses, including city and provincial buses, are set to resume their operations on the second phase of the public transportation resumption from June 22 to 30 as part of the Department of Transportation’s (DOTr) “calibrated, partial, and in phases” approach on allowing public transport to ply the roads again.
However, Delgra said the Department noted the need for additional modes of public transportation after many passengers were stranded in some parts of Metro Manila on the first days of GCQ due to limited mass transit.
The LTFRB started to open some city bus routes on June 2 to transport more essential commuters to their workplaces.
“Yung pagbubukas ng mga city bus routes was supposed to happen on June 22 pero minarapat natin na sa pangalawang araw ng pagbabalik ng public transport ay binuksan natin yung additional city bus routes kasi nakita natin ang pangangailangan,” Delgra explained. (The opening of city bus routes was supposed to happen on June 22 but we started to open other routes on the second day of public transport resumption because we saw the need for it.)
“Inuna natin buksan ang mga ruta kung saan may mga riles ng tren (We opened first the routes along the railway systems) such as the LRT Line 1 from Taft to Monumento, along the LRT Line 1 from Cubao to Santolan, and the EDSA route for the MRT Line 3,” he added.
Currently, the LTFRB chief said 15 city bus routes have been opened since last week such as Route 8 (Cubao-Montalban), Route 24 (PITX-Alabang), Route 25 (BGC-Alabang), a portion of Route E (EDSA Carousel), Route 1 (Monumento-Balagtas), Route 3 (Monumento-Valenzuela Gateway Complex), Route 5 (Quezon Avenue-Angat), Route 7 (Quezon Avenue-Montalban), Route 9 (Cubao-Antipolo), Route 11 (Gilmore-Taytay), Route 13 (Buendia-BGC), Route 17 (Monumento-EDSA Taft), Route 18 (PITX-NAIA Loop), Route 21 (Monumento-San Jose Del Monte), and Route 28 (PITX-Dasmariñas).
“Tomorrow, there will be at least two or three city bus routes to be launched. This is continuous,” he said.
The remaining routes being eyed to open by June 19 are Monumento-PITX; North EDSA-Fairview; Quezon Avenue-EDSA Taft; Cubao-Doroteo Jose; Kalentong-Pasig; Ayala-Alabang; Ayala-Biñan; Ayala-FTI Complex; North EDSA-BGC; Monumento-Meycauayan; Monumento-Angat; PITX-Sucat; PITX-Naic; PITX-Trece Martires; PITX-General Mariano Alvarez; and PITX-Cavite City.
Aside from the city bus routes, Delgra mentioned that the DOTr and the LTFRB have opened a total of 28 new routes for point-to-point buses in Metro Manila and parts of Cavite, Laguna, Rizal, and Bulacan, including Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) and Sangley Airport in Cavite.
Trains, bus augmentation, taxis, transport network vehicle services, shuttle services, P2P buses, and bicycles have been allowed by the DOTr to ply the road again on Phase 1 from June 1 to 21, but with limited passenger capacity.
While all public utility buses, modern jeepneys, and UV Express will resume on the second phase of public transportation resumption.