Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) chairman, Martin Delgra on Wednesday, said that UV Express vans and traditional public utility jeepneys (PUJs) would be allowed to resume transport operations in Metro Manila next week.
“[They could start operating] next week for both UV and traditional jeepneys… For Monday may bubuksan na mga UV Express (UV Express [vans] will be allowed), and then followed by the traditional jeepneys,” Delgra said during the virtual meeting of the House Committee on Metro Manila Development.
However, he did not specify when traditional PUJs be allowed to ply Metro Manila roads.
Delgra said the LTFRB follows a “hierarchy”, wherein transport modes with higher passenger capacity are the priority, such as trains, buses, and modern public utility vehicles (PUVs) as long as they observe minimum health standards.
The LTFRB has allowed at least 308 modern PUJs to ply 15 select routes in Metro Manila as of Monday, with more routes to resume operation within the week. The modern PUVs included are those operated by groups made up of consolidated operators under the PUV Modernization Program (PUVMP) with valid and existing Certificate of Public Convenience (CPC) or granted a Provisional Authority (PA) to operate in the National Capital Region (NCR) and other areas included in its route.
“The resumption of PUJ operations in 15 routes in Metro Manila is part of our calibrated response to restore mass transportation in Metro Manila and the adjacent provinces as we transition into new normal, taking into consideration the strict health protocols to prevent the spread of Covid-19,” Delgra said.
These health protocols include allowing the use of cashless payments through mobile applications or contactless smart cards, the mandatory wearing of facemasks, disinfecting footbaths for passengers before boarding, and strict social distancing, which limit maximum passenger capacity to 50 percent.
Earlier, Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said UV Express vans have a higher chance of resuming transport operations than traditional jeeps.
Roque said that unlike PUJs with seats that make passengers face each other, UV Express vans have seats that let passengers face one direction, minimizing the risk of coronavirus disease infection.
He said tapping both the UV Express vans and PUJs is next if the current modes of public transportation are not enough to send commuters to their respective destinations.
“We considered the convenience of the riding public. If what we have is not enough, then it will surely be allowed. I think the UV Express stand a better chance than jeepneys,” he said in an interview over ABS-CBN News Channel’s Headstart.