By Alexandria Dennise San Juan
A total of 980 UV Express units will start plying 47 routes in Metro Manila and neighboring provinces beginning Monday, June 29, to complement other modes of public transportation earlier allowed to operate under the “new normal.”
The Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) released on Saturday Memorandum Circular 2020-025 that authorized UV Express to resume its operations in Metro Manila and nearby provinces during the general community quarantine (GCQ).
Based on the guidelines signed by LTFRB Chairman Martin Delgra III on Friday, June 26, the following 47 routes in the Greater Manila Area have been approved by the Board for UV Express units:
1. Meycauayan – Central Integrated Terminal (QC)
2. Obando – MRT North Ave., QC
3. Sto. Niño (Meycauayan Bulacan) – MRT North Ave.
4. Sto. Niño (Meycauayan Bulacan) – Trinoma, MRT North Ave., Mindanao Ave.
5. Heritage (Meycauayan Bulacan) – SM North (QC)
6. Marilao (Bulacan) – SM North Ave.
7. Sto. Niño (Meycauayan Bulacan) – Central Integrated Terminal (QC)
8. SM Marilao (Bulacan) – SM North (QC)
9. Malhacan (Meycauayan Bulacan) – Quezon Ave. via NLEX
10. Malhacan (Meycauayan Bulacan) – Central Integrated Terminal (QC)
11. Marilao – Central Integrated Terminal (QC)
12. Marilao Terminal – Quezon Ave. Terminal (MRT)
13. Turo (Bocaue, Bulacan) – Central Integrated Terminal
14. Turo (Bocaue, Bulacan) – Central Integrated Terminal via NLEX
15. Turo (Bocaue, Bulacan) – MRT/Quezon Ave. Terminal via NLEX
16. SM Marilao (Bulacan) – Central Integrated Terminal
17. Meycauayan – Recto
18. Balagtas – Monumento
19. Springville, Molino Bacoor – Alabang via Daanghari
20. Molino – Alabang via Daanghari
21. Molino Bacoor – Ayala Center Terminal via Skyway
22. Golden City (Dasmariñas) – Ayala Center
23. Pacita Complex – Makati Square
24. Pacita Complex – Ayala Center Terminal via San Pedro Exit
25. Pacita Complex (Laguna) – SM Makati
26. Pacita (San Pedro, Laguna) – Makati Square
27. Pacita Complex – Ayala Center via Southwoods Exit
28. Barangay Mamatid (Cabuyao, Laguna) – Festival Mall
29. Mamatid (Cabuyao, Laguna) – Festival Mall (Alabang)
30. Balibago (Laguna) – SM Southmall (Las Piñas)
31. Taytay – EDSA Central
32. Greenland Executive Village (Cainta) – Ayala
33. Rodgriguez – Sta. Lucia Grandmall (Cainta)
34. Masinag – Ayala
35. Antipolo – Ayala
36. Antipolo – Ayala Via C5
37. Antipolo – Ayala Via Tikling
38. Antipolo – Ayala Via Circumferencial Road
39. San Mateo (Rizal) – Ayala Ave.
40. Binangonan – Sta. Lucia (Cainta)
41. Binangonan – SM Megamall
42. Binangonan – EDSA Starmall
43. Binangonan – EDSA Central
44. Binangonan – Marikina Riverbank via LRT Santolan
45. Cardona – EDSA Starmall
46. Cardona – EDSA Central
47. Morong – SM Megamall
Delgra also reminded drivers and operators to strictly comply with the guidelines set under the memorandum as penalties such as imposition of fines and suspension or cancellation of franchise await those who will not follow the rules.
Under the circular, LTFRB said UV Express units shall follow terminal-to-terminal operations, meaning they are not allowed to pick-up and drop off passengers in between their routes. They are also prohibited to “pass through or traverse EDSA and Commonwealth Avenue, except to cross.”
While no special permit is necessary prior to their operation, the LTFRB warned that UV Express units found to operate in routes not included in the approved list “will be apprehended.”
The LTFRB chief also pointed out that the existing UV Express fare rate of P2 per kilometer remains and no fare adjustment shall be applied unless approved by the Board.
For contact tracing purposes, passengers will be asked by the driver or conductor to fill up a contact form upon boarding the vehicle and will be submitted in a drop box before alighting.
Delgra also urged operators to follow health and safety protocols included in the memorandum such as the need to regularly examine a driver’s fitness to work, checking body temperature, and screening for symptoms of COVID-19, and the mandatory wearing of face masks and gloves of drivers and conductors at all times.
For the passengers, a “no face mask, no ride” policy will be implemented and the exact fare shall be paid before boarding the vehicle. Operators are also allowed to devise any fare collection system to minimize physical interaction and prevent the spread of the virus.
Passenger load must not also exceed two per row and should be seated one seat apart, while impermeable barriers shall be installed to separate the driver and the passengers, and in between rows of seats that are less than one meter apart.
According to Delgra, the approved guidelines rationalizing the deployment of the UV Express in these routes is in line with the gradual, calibrated, and calculated approach of the Department of Transportation (DOTr) on the revival of public transportation in Metro Manila during GCQ.
He also noted that the LTFRB is not discounting the possibility of deploying additional modern and traditional jeepneys later to augment the operations of UV Express depending on passenger demand.
Over the week, the LTFRB has allowed modernized PUJs to resume and ply along 34 routes in the Greater Manila area in addition to other modes of public transport that have been operating at limited capacity since the implementation of a more relaxed general community quarantine last June 1.
The resumption of mass transit is being implemented by the LTFRB in two phases, as advised by the DOTr and the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases.
Trains, bus augmentations, taxis, transport network vehicle services, shuttle services, point-to-point buses, city buses, and bicycles have been allowed in the first phase from June 1 to 21, while other modes of public transport will gradually resume during the second phase which began June 22 and will run until the end of the month.
The DOTr and the LTFRB had earlier assured that conventional jeepneys will be allowed to go back on the road also next week after the resumption of UV Express units.
The transport sector has been among the hardest-hit by the almost three months of hard lockdown which mandated a suspension on all forms of public transportation from mid-March until the end of May.