BY NOEL TALACAY
THE Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) yesterday opened 44 new routes and allowed 4,820 traditional public utility jeepney (PUJ) units to resume operations, seven months after the government suspended public transportation as a strategic response to control the spread of the new coronavirus disease (COVID-19).
LTFRB chairman Martin Delgra announced in a Viber message to reporters that the permission authorizing the additional number of PUJs and Metro Manila routes were contained in Memorandum Circular (MC) 2020-058, which took effect last October 10.
The 44 new routes are the following: Bagong Silang – SM Fairview via Maligaya; Bagong Silang Kaliwa – Robinsons Fairview Zabarte; Balintawak – Camarin via Susano; Balintawak – Lagro via Novaliches; Balintawak – Novaliches via Quirino Highway; Kiko Camarin – SM Fairview via Maligaya Park; Malinta – Malolos; Bulacan; Aurora/Lauan – Quezon Memorial Circle; Angono – Araneta Center in Cubao; Binangonan; Rizal – Marcos Highway; Buso-Buso – Marikina; EDSA Shaw Blvd. – Morong; EDSA Shaw Blvd. – Tanay; Marikina – Pinugay; Arroceros – Project 7 via España; Baclaran – Blumenttrit via L. Guinto, Sta. Cruz; Baclaran – Blumenttrit via L. Guinto, Quiapo; Baclaran – P. Campa via L. Guinto; Balintawak – Blumenttrit via A. Bonifacio; Balut – Divisoria; Cubao – Remedios via Quiapo; L. Guinto, and Dagat-Dagatan – Divisoria Ilaya via Lapu-Lapu Avenue.
Other routes that were opened included Dapitan/Delos Reyes – P. Campa via Dimasalang; Dapitan – Pier South via Del Pan; EDSA/Shaw Central – Kalentong/JRC; Frisco – Vito Cruz via Mabini, Quiapo; Malanday – Pier South via McArthur Highway; Malanday – Recto via F. Huertas, Oroquieta; Malanday – Sta. Cruz via F. Huertaz, Oroquieta; Cubao (Mercury) – Roces/Super Palengke; Alabang – FTI via South Super Highway; Baclaran – Moonwalk via Quirino; Baclaran – Nichols via CAA; Baclaran – Zapote (Las Piñas); BF Homes Subdivision – Ikot via Vinmrt (Sucat) Term; Brgy. Ayala/Alabang – Alabang Market (vice versa); Alabang – Balibago; Alabang – Biñan, Laguna; Alabang – Carmona; Alabang – GMA; Alabang – Langgam, San Pedro; Pacita Complex – Sucat, Parañaque; and Talon – Molino Bayan
Aside from the new routes, Delgra said MC 2020-058 likewise allowed 4,820 compliant PUJs to go back to the roads.
The additional figure brings to 27,016 the total number of traditional PUJs that are plying a total of 302 Metro Manila routes.
Public utility vehicles have gradually been allowed to resume operations, subject to strict compliance to safety and health protocols, since National Capital Region’s classification improved to general community quarantine (GCQ).
The LTFRB has previously allowed 845 modern public utility jeepney units to ply in 48 routes; 4,016 public utility buses in 34 routes; and 387 Point-to-Point bus units also in 34 routes.
It has likewise authorized 3,253 UV Express units in 76 routes; 20,927 taxi units; 24,356 Transport Network Vehicle Service (TNVS) units; 286 provincial buses in 12 routes; and 40 modern UV express in two routes.
Delgra assured commuters that more routes will be opened as the economy slowly reopens.