The Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) has opened additional routes for more than 200 provincial buses going to and from Metro Manila and Western Visayas, allowing more passengers to travel across regions after months of quarantine lockdowns.
According to the LTFRB, seven provincial bus routes were opened on Wednesday covering a total of 221 units in line with the agency’s Memorandum Circular 2020-051C.
This brings the total number of authorized units to 680 plying 27 approved routes across the country since the government allowed provincial buses to return on roads last September 30.
The Board has designated Sta. Rosa Integrated Terminal in Laguna as the endpoint for buses from Kalibo and Malay in Aklan; San Jose, Antique; Roxas City, Capiz; and Estancia, Iloilo City, and Miag-ao in Iloilo.
The LTFRB said the provincial bus routes that have been opened underwent a thorough study made by the agency, in coordination with the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) and concerned local officials.
LTFRB Chairman Martin Delgra III earlier mentioned that many local officials were still opposed to the idea of opening their borders for buses to and from the capital region which is currently the epicenter of the pandemic in the country.
However, Delgra assured that the Board is continuously meeting with other local executives to allow their borders opened for provincial buses to transport more passengers and workers as the economy and tourism sectors gradually reopen.
Drivers and operators, as well as passengers, were also reminded to strictly observe health safety protocols such as proper wearing face masks and face shields, and comply with the 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.