MMDA advises motorists, commuters to prefer carpooling on holiday week

Marje Pelayo   •   December 16, 2019   •   1182

MANILA, Philippines – The Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) assures of enough number of public utility buses this holiday week for passengers bound for the provinces.

The agency has approved special permits to provincial buses bound for provinces in nearby areas in Northern and Southern Luzon, Bicol and in areas in Visayas and Mindanao.

The special permit will take effect from December 23 to January 3, 2020.

LTFRB Chairman Martin Delgra reminds bus operators of the standard protocol on drivers for province bound buses.

Bus firm must ensure that they have substitute drivers for trips six hours and longer for safety of the passengers and the drivers themselves.

“Whatever be the case, we always remind them […] be mindful of the road rules and regulations and be mindful of the safety of the passengers,” Delgra emphasized.

Now that more buses will ply the roads during the holiday week, the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) advised private motorists to brace for heavier traffic situation.

“Kasi ayaw nilang magbayad ng (they refuse to pay for) terminal fee so that’s what they do. They crawl EDSA,” MMDA’s Traffic Chief Edison Nebrija observed of bus drivers.

“Nagba-barker ang konduktor (bus conductors would try) getting chance passengers. Hindi naman namin pwedeng payagan iyan (But we will not allow that) because they will delay the flow of traffic,” he added.

Aside from bus drivers getting unruly on EDSA, last minute shoppers also add to the traffic jam, Nebrija said.

“The week before Christmas iyan ang peak ng traffic because iyan na ang Christmas rush na tinatawag. Lahat nag-a-apura na mamimili (The week before Christmas is the peak of traffic because of the so-called Christmas rush. Everyone is on a rush shopping),” he said.

To help ease traffic, the MMDA encourages carpooling for travel convenience.

Meanwhile, the Department of Transportation (DOTr) launched today the Oplan Byaheng Ayos to ensure that strict monitoring and security is enforced in bus terminals, seaports and airports to maintain smooth travel this holiday season.

The program remains effective until January 5, 2020.

LTFRB warns PUV drivers, operators overcharging fares amid Metro Manila quarantine

Robie de Guzman   •   March 16, 2020

MANILA, Philippines – The Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) has warned to slap sanctions against public utility vehicle (PUV) drivers and operators overcharging passengers amid the government-enforced community quarantine in Metro Manila against the spread of novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19).

The LTFRB issued the warning following reports that some public bus drivers and operators are charging extra due to the passenger limit.

“The Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board has received reports of Public Utility Bus (PUB) drivers and operators overcharging passengers amid an ongoing pandemic of the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19),” LTFRB Chairman Martin Delgra III said in a statement.

“The LTFRB strongly condemns such practices of taking advantage of the public while the country is gripped by a State of Public Health Emergency, or any crisis thereof,” he added.

Some commuters have complained about drivers of buses and UV express vehicles asking passengers to pay double to compensate for the reduced passenger volume they are allowed to ferry due to the social distancing being enforced on all modes of public transportation.

Under the government’s transportation restriction guidelines, UV express vehicles may only carry six people, including the driver, at any given time. Passengers must also maintain a distance of one seat from one another.

Public buses should not have more than 25 passengers including driver and conductor, without any standing passenger. Passengers should be one seat apart.

Public jeepneys, on the other hand, should not board more than half of their regular capacity including driver, while taxis or Transportation Network Vehicle Services (TNVS), including accredited airport taxis should not have more than four passengers, including driver.

One seat apart distance between passengers should be maintained.

Delgra emphasized that transport operators “under no circumstances” should raise fares unless otherwise approved by the Board.

“An action like this is in clear violation of the agency’s policies,” he said.

Should they be found guilty of violating LTFRB’s policies, Delgra said franchise holders will be subjected to penalties under Joint Administrative Order 2014-01, with the possibility of cancellation of Certificate of Public Convenience (CPC), among other sanctions.

He also urged PUV operators to not take advantage of the ongoing situation experienced in Metro Manila, and to keep in mind the safety and security of the riding public.

Sevilla Bridge in Mandaluyong to be closed for a month – MMDA

Robie de Guzman   •   March 13, 2020

MANILA, Philippines – The Sevilla Bridge in Mandaluyong will be totally closed to vehicular traffic for one month as it will undergo reconstruction, the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) announced Friday.

In a statement, the MMDA said the bridge will be closed starting Saturday, March 14.

“The bridge, crossing San Juan River and connecting Shaw Boulevard in Burol, Mandaluyong City and P. Sanchez Street in Sta. Mesa, Manila, will be closed starting on March 14 (Saturday) at 10pm,” MMDA General Manager Jojo Garcia said during a press briefing held at the MMDA main headquarters in Makati City.

“Total closure of Sevilla Bridge will last until April 14,” he added.

Garcia said the bridge closure is to give way to the construction of the Skyway Stage 3 project, an 18.68-kilometer elevated expressway starting from Buendia in Makati to Balintawak in Quezon City.

“One-way traffic scheme going to Manila will be implemented every 5am onwards for one month,” he said.

Trucks will also be prohibited from entering Valenzuela-P. Sanchez intersection going to Shaw Boulevard.

The MMDA advised motorists coming from Manila to take alternative routes by turning right to Bagumbayan and then turn left to Lubiran (Bacood Bridge) to New Panaderos going to destination.

An 30,000 to 40,000 motorists will be affected by the bridge closure.

LTFRB ‘strongly urges’ PUV drivers, passengers to wear face masks amid COVID-19 fears

Robie de Guzman   •   March 10, 2020

MANILA, Philippines – The Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) on Tuesday called on public utility vehicle (PUV) drivers, operators and passengers to undertake appropriate measures to prevent the spread of illnesses amid the threat of novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in the country.

In an advisory, the LTFRB strongly urged PUV drivers and conductors to wear face masks at all times while on duty, as stated on the Memorandum Circular (MC) 2020-005 issued recently.

The agency also reminded terminal operators to ensure proper sanitation and cleanliness in their premises.

Face masks, disinfectants or sanitizers for free use of passengers should also be provided by transport operators, the LTFRB said.

Public transport providers are also urged to sanitize their vehicle units using hospital-grade disinfectants before and after deployment, and to be “wary of anyone manifesting symptoms of infection.”

The agency likewise called on transport operators to avoid overcrowding in public buses, and to work with health authorities by reporting suspected coronavirus cases.

“Passengers are encouraged to participate in the conduct of these measures by disinfecting their seats before and after use,” the LTFRB said.

“The Board calls out all drivers and operators to be reminded of their responsibility to provide a safe and reliable public transportation system to the riding public—now, more than ever,” it added.

The agency issued the reminder following President Rodrigo Duterte’s declaration of a state of public health emergency as recommended by the Department of Health.

As of posting, the Philippines has 33 confirmed coronavirus cases.

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