Provincial buses from Pampanga and Davao Del Sur are now allowed in Metro Manila as the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) opened routes from the two provinces to the capital region to service more passengers.
The two routes approved on Friday by the LTFRB are from Dau, Mabalacat, Pampanga up to Araneta Center, Cubao in Quezon City, and from Davao City, Davao Del Sur to the Sta. Rosa Integrated Terminal in Laguna.
According to the LTFRB, at least 19 provincial bus units have been authorized by the Board to ply these routes—five units for the Pampanga-Cubao route, and 14 for the Davao-Laguna route.
The newly-opened routes are in addition to the 12 modified routes recently opened by LTFRB for provincial buses in Regions 3 and 4A going to Metro Manila, allowing increased travel across regions after months of quarantine lockdowns.
On September 30, the LTFRB allowed buses from San Fernando City in Pampanga to load and unload passengers at the Araneta Center bus terminal, while the Parañaque Integrated Terminal Exchange (PITX) now serves as the endpoint for buses from Batangas City, Lipa, Lemery, and Nasugbu in Batangas; Indang, Mendez, Tagaytay City, and Ternate in Cavite; and from Calamba City, Siniloan and Sta. Cruz in Laguna.
In a statement, the LTFRB said that each provincial bus route that has been opened has undergone a thorough study by the agency, the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG), as well as local officials.
LTFRB Chairman Martin Delgra III earlier said that the Board continues to coordinate with other local executives to allow their borders opened for provincial buses to transport more passengers and workers as the economy reopens.
Drivers and operators, as well as passengers, were reminded to strictly observe health safety protocols such as properly wearing face masks and face shields, and complying with distancing guidelines set by the government for public utility vehicles.
The LTFRB said that provincial buses traveling on the modified routes will be monitored regularly and warned that failure to comply with the guidelines will incur penalties such as imposition of fines or cancellation or suspension of the franchise or the Certificate of Public Convenience.