(July 02, 2020) – Around 6,000 iconic jeepneys would be allowed to ply the roads again in the capital region starting Friday on July 3, the transportation regulatory board said.
The Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) said it would issue special permits for the jeepneys deemed to be road-worthy. Instead, a corresponding QR code would be provided for operators to print and display on the vehicles.
However, since the LTFRB website is down due to a migration mandate, the traditional jeepneys would be allowed to resume operations until the weekend without the QR codes.
Instead, the agency would publish the names of operators on social media who were given the greenlight to pick up passengers on an initial of 49 routes.
“If they are currently registered with the LTO ibig sabihin dumaan na sila sa inspection requirement ng LTO for the vehicles to be roadworthy,” said LTFRB Chairman Martin Delgra III on Thursday.
Passing of passenger fares from fellow commuters to the driver, which has been a tradition in jeepneys, would be discouraged to avoid coronavirus transmission.
Delgra said drivers could institute a fare drop box, or have someone collect the payment before riding, or even have cashless transactions for passengers.
Under the LTFRB guidelines, jeepneys are also required to take on a maximum of 50 percent capacity. Drivers and commuters are also mandated to wear masks at all times.
Public utility jeepney (PUJ) operators are required to put up barriers to ensure social distancing, and to disinfect the vehicles at the end of each trip.
Information forms would also need to be filled up by the passengers before alighting from the vehicle for contact tracing.
Delgra also insisted that the minimum fare of nine pesos for the first four kilometers, and 1.50 pesos for the succeeding kilometers would remain despite questions of sustainability.
The LTFRB said the Department of Transportation (DOTr) proposed to Congress to provide at least 30 percent fuel subsidy to drivers and operators. They have also requested banks to restructure the existing loans for operators.
“Baka sana hanggang ‘di pa tapos ang pandemic ay wag ipilit na pagbayarin ng amortization ang drivers at operators,” said LTFRB NCR Regional Director Zona Tamayo.
Delgra also denied accusations that the government is favoring modern jeepneys that come from China.
“Ang government ay hindi nag-eendorso ng kahit anong design o manufacturer. Ang desisyon ay nasa operator base sa kanilang pangangailangan,” he said.
He admitted that the initial approved number of units is only a small portion of the 55,000 jeepneys in the capital region. Delgra said they would depend on ongoing assessments of travel demands as they go along not just in Metro Manila but in the rest of the country.
Tamayo warned though, that those who would violate the guidelines could face a penalty of 5,000 for the first offense. (Katrina Elaine Alba/MM)
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