LTFRB: No Fare Hike on PUVs once ECQ is lifted

Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) Chairman Martin Delgra announced last Monday (May 11, 2020), during the Senate Hearing on the Resumption of Public Transport, that there will be no increase of fare rates in all kinds of public transport once the Enhance Community Quarantine (ECQ) is lifted.

No Fare Rate Increase for all PUVs

Considering that most of the riding public lost their source of income due to the implementation of ECQ, Delgra said that there will be no fare rate increase once areas are transitioned to GCQ.

“We don’t want to add burden to the commuting public at this point in time so LTFRB, in consultation with DOTr, decided not to increase the fare for all types of public transport that would be allowed to run on the road.”

– LTFRB Chairman Martin Delgra

Stimulus Package for Operators

Additionally, Delgra explained that there is a need to balance the interests of the riding public and operators. Thus, the Department of Public Transportation (DOTr ) has come up with financial packages to help operators sustain the viability of public transport.

Certain Restrictions Must Be Observed

Moreover, the LTFRB Chairman said that once areas under ECQ are transitioned to GCQ, the suspension of Public Utility Vehicles (PUVs) will be lifted. However, under DOTr Memorandum Circular No. 2020-017, there are certain restrictions that must be strictly observed for public health and safety.

Passenger Capacity for all PUVs

Here are the guidelines on Passenger Capacity for all PUVs based on Memorandum Circular No. 2020-18:

BUS Passenger Limits

  • Passenger load shall not exceed 50% of the vehicle’s capacity (excluding driver and conductor)
  • Passengers should be seated one seat apart; no standing passengers shall  be allowed

PUJ Passenger Limits (for OFG-compliant and traditional units)

  • Passenger load shall not exceed 50% or half of the vehicle’s capacity  (excluding driver and conductor);
  • Passengers should be seated one seat apart; no standing passengers shall be allowed
  • The passenger seat beside the driver may be occupied by one (1) passenger provided that the driver compartment is sealed off by a non-permeable transparent barrier and there is no conductor present during the trip.

UV Express Passenger Limits

  • Passenger load shall not exceed two (2) passengers per row, except for the driver’s row for which there should only be one (1) passenger allowed to occupy the passenger seat, provided that the driver compartment is sealed off by non-permeable transparent barrier and there is no conductor present during the trip.

To ensure the limited passenger capacity is complied with, operators are required to adopt means or markings that will guide passengers as to which seats are available during the trips (such as non-permeable/acetate seat barrier and the like).

Other Modes of Public Transport Allowed to Operate

  • Taxi, TNVS, shuttle service, tourist transport service, school transport service may be allowed to operate on a case to case basis as the RFROs and/or the Board may determine.

In case TNVS and Taxis shall be allowed to operate here are the following guidelines:

  • Strict physical distancing should be observed.
  • Only a maximum of two (2) passengers shall be allowed at the back.
  • Multiple bookings in a single trip (for TNVS) shall be prohibited.
  • Cashless transactions or use of automated fare collection shall be implemented.

Units with Greater Capacity to be Prioritized

As public health is the top priority, Delgra said that PUVs with higher capacity such as modern buses will be prioritized in the issuance of special permits.

However, he explained, “If buses will not be enough then modern jeepneys will come in. If modern jeepneys will not be enough then traditional jeepneys will also be given special permits.”

Furthermore, the LTFRB chairman said that demand definitely is a factor once ECQ areas are transitioned to GCQ.

Conditions for Units with Special Permits

Here are the following conditions to be complied by all PUVs that will be granted with special permits:

  • Driver and conductors shall wear masks at all times;
  •  Commuters are required to wear masks in order to be allowed to board a PUV (No face mask No Ride);
  • If OFG Compliant units, preferably with AFCS facility in collecting Fare;
  •  For those without AFCS, PUJ driver conductors shall collect fares at the front seat before the passengers board the PUV;
  • UV Express shall strictly follow the point to point operation and the fare shall be collected at their designated terminals. Thermal scanning of passengers shall be done at the terminal before boarding or the start of the trip. Those with a body temperature of 38 degrees centigrade or higher shall not be allowed to board the vehicle. Hence, commuters with fever are not advised to travel;
  • Vehicles shall be disinfected every end of each trip with all surfaces (especially seats, armrests, handles) wiped down with disinfecting agent;
  • All often touched parts or surfaces of the vehicle such as but not limited to seats, armrests and handles shall be disinfected at least once every three (3) hours if the vehicle is in continuous operation;
  • Operators/Drivers should provide a foot-disinfectant or foot-disinfectant or foot bath for passengers prior to boarding;
  • For PUJ & UV Express, the driver compartment should be sealed off from the passenger area using a non-permeable, transparent material. In such case, PUJ & UV Express may be allowed to take on one passenger on the driver’s row;
  • Physical distancing must at all times be observed inside the PUVs. Thus, passenger load must not exceed 50 % or half of the vehicle’s capacity (excluding driver and conductor); passengers should be seated one seat apart; no standing passengers shall be allowed;
  • PUJ operators shall install impermeable barriers between rows of seats that are less than 1 meter apart if they wish to maximize 50 % passenger load;
  • Operators/Drivers shall out marking on the seats of the PUVs where the passengers must occupy;
  • All safety officers must regularly examine the driver’s and conductor’s fitness to work by checking their body temperature and screening/detecting any symptoms of COVID-19
  • Operators must regularly check the availability of the thermal scanner in terminals and BUS units;
  • Operators/Drivers shall comply with all the IATF-EID resolutions in relation to the COVID-19 pandemic in order to prevent the spread of the virus.

SOURCE: Senate hearing on resumption of public transport

RELATED: City Government to Provide Financial Assistance for Jeepney Drivers

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