LTFRB taps MMDA, IACT in enforcing UV Express pick-and-drop points

Robie de Guzman   •   May 28, 2019   •   1913

MANILA, Philippines – The Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) announced on Monday it will work with the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) and the Inter-Agency Council for Traffic (IACT) in enforcing the point-to-point transport operation of UV Express Service units.

Under Memorandum Circular 2019-025, the LTFRB abolished the two-kilometer radius from UV Express units’ endpoints in which they were allowed to load and unload passengers.  

The new circular, which amended a 2009 memo, was signed by LTFRB Chairman Martin Delgra on May 16.

Delgra said the new policy was actually part of a 2005 memorandum which provides the original concept of UV Express Service, allowing them to only pick-up and drop off commuters at terminals specified in their franchise.

He said the Board implemented the regulation after noting that most UV Express drivers do not use the designated terminals to load and unload passengers between their endpoints. The time used in picking up and dropping off of passengers also slows down traffic.

“If you will notice kapag may sasakay sa loob ng UV, bababa yung buong sumasakay sa isang linya ng buong UV, bababa muna bago bababalik na naman sasakay, o kaya yung bababa ay nasa likod ng driver bababa muna bubuksan yung pintuan sa likod,” he said.

But a group of UV Express drivers opposed the policy, saying this will affect their income, and add to the daily burden of passengers.

“Hindi po pwede ‘yun sa mga pasahero gawa ng hindi naman po iisa ang pupuntahan ng pasahero. Paano kung SM fairview kami? Doon lahat bababa eh dito lang ang baba ng iba sa Philcoa,” said driver Ernesto Ebio.

“’Pag umaasa kami sa pila, wala kaming kikitain, kasi yung mga pasahero na galing sa pila merong bumababa ng malapit. Kapag nagkataon na merong sasakay para ‘yun yung pinaka extra naming [kita]” said driver Cesar Lipat.

Commuters, meanwhile, expressed varying reactions on the issue.

Some said the new policy will bring inconvenience to passengers while others lauded it as point-to-point transport operation will hasten their travel.

The LTFRB has advised affected passengers to use other available modes of public transportation to reach their destination.

LTFRB Chairman Delgra said they are now coordinating with the MMDA and IACT in relation with the apprehension of drivers who will fail to comply with the new policy.

Violators will be meted out with a fine of up to P15,000 for breach of franchise; their driver’s license may also be revoked for repeated offenses. (with details from Joan Nano)

MMDA eyes closure of 15 U-turn slots on EDSA

Marje Pelayo   •   July 3, 2020

MANILA, Philippines — The Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) is planning to close a total of 15 U-Turn slots on EDSA.

The plan aims to facilitate the construction of mass transport facilities in an effort to speed up traffic flow of buses on Metro Manila’s major thoroughfare.

“We want to lessen the travel time. Kung ma-achieve natin iyan by minimizing or closing the U-turn slots on this bus way ay malaking impact iyan. Mas mabilis,” said MMDA EDSA Traffic Chief Edison Nebrija.

U-Turn slots that might be closed include: 

CALOOCAN CITY

  • De Jesus
  • Gen. Tinio
  • Malvar
  • Biglang Awa

QUEZON CITY

  • Balintawak
  • Kaingin 
  • Landers 
  • Dario Brigde
  • Walter Mart
  • Quezon City Academy
  • Trinoma
  • Timog
  • Santolan

PASAY CITY

  • EDSA-Taft
  • Heritage Hotel

Nebrija added that the project will exclusively assign the innermost lanes of EDSA for public utility buses in order to decongest traffic.

Though MMDA expects to receive mounting complaints from commuters and operators, Nebrija said the project’s purpose is ultimately to provide convenience to the greater public. 

“Well maraming magrereklamo diyan. Baka may mag-file na naman ng TRO (Well, many will complain. Maybe another TRO will be filed),” he said.

Nonetheless, the MMDA is still open to suggestions and ideas on how improve EDSA’s busway system. MNP (with reports from Dante Amento)

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MRT-3 to operate at reduced capacity as COVID-19 cases in depot rise to 127

Maris Federez   •   July 2, 2020

MANILA, Philippines — The MRT management will limit the number of trains in operation starting July 6.

This after a number of its personnel tested positive for the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), bringing the total of positive cases to 127, a Department of Transportation (DOTr) advisory said.

Initial report said the 127 cases consist of 124 Sumitomo Depot personnel and 3 MRT-3 Depot personnel who will be placed under mandatory quarantine and medication.

DOTr Undersecretary for Railways Timothy John Batan said that with the guidance of the IATF-EID and upon the advice of Sumitomo-MHI, MRT-3 will be able to continue operations, with the possibility of reducing capacity or with fewer trains.

“Sumitomo requested to discuss on a day-by-day basis the level of operations that they can sustain as results of the mass swab testing continue to be released. In the meantime, Sumitomo advised that they are able to continue with operations to service MRT-3’s tens of thousands of passengers, although at a reduced level,” said Usec Batan.

“While we try to do our best to keep the same maintenance performance through this week, we would like to discuss with DOTr MRT3 office day by day, how much maintenance level we would be able to keep, in view of the number of COVID-19 infected people,” said Masanori Honda of Sumitomo.

The advisory also said that “to augment MRT-3’s further reduced capacity due to the quarantine of some of its depot personnel, DOTr will be boosting its Bus Augmentation Program and EDSA Busway service, in coordination with the DOTr Road Sector, LTFRB, and MMDA.”

“Per guidance of the IATF-EID, additional measures and precautions will be taken during MRT-3’s reduced operations, including requiring full PPE for stations and depot personnel, limiting movement of depot personnel to their immediate areas of responsibility, increased disinfection activities, and heightened monitoring and screening of symptoms among all personnel,” the advisory further read.

Meanwhile, MRT reminds the public that it will suspend operation on July 4 and 5 to give way to their rail replacement activities. —(with details from Joan Nano) /mbmf

List: Approved UV Express routes starting June 29

Marje Pelayo   •   June 29, 2020

MANILA, Philippines — The Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) has announced that a total of 980 UV Express units will start operating on Monday (June 29) along 47 routes in and out of Metro Manila.

Under the guidelines set by LTFRB through Memorandum Circular No. 2020-025, all routes are strictly terminal-to-terminal only, meaning, drivers are not allowed to pick up or drop off  passengers along the way.

UV Express units are not allowed on EDSA and Commonwealth Avenue except to cross.

Fare rate shall remain at P2 per kilometer, according to the memorandum. and that no fare adjustment shall be applied unless approved by the agency.

Additionally, the following are salient provisions stated in the guidelines in relation to health protocols imposed by the national government in response to the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic:

  • Operators must regularly examine a driver’s fitness to work, checking their body temperature and screening for symptoms of COVID-19.
  • Wearing of masks and gloves at all times is mandatory to all drivers and conductors.
  • Strictly “No Face Mask, No Ride” for commuters.
  • Exact fare shall be paid prior to boarding the PUV or operators/drivers may devise any fare collection system such as use of a fare drop-off to minimize/prevent transmittal of COVID-19.
  • Strictly two (2) passengers per row with passengers seated one seat apart.
  • Impermeable barriers must be installed to seal off the driver’s compartment and between rows of seats that are less than one (1) meter apart.

The guidelines for UV Express operations are in line with the “gradual, calibrated and calculated approach” of the Department of Transportation (DOTr) on the resumption of public transportation in Metro Manila amid the general community quarantine (GCQ).

According to LTFRB Chairman Martin Delgra, failure to comply with the guidelines may warrant the imposition of fines and suspension or cancellation of their franchise.

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