LTFRB issues permits to 1182 buses for Holy Week

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, March 29) - The Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) issued special permits to 1,182 provincial buses to meet passenger demand during the Holy Week.

During a hearing at the House of Representatives Committee on Transportation meeting Wednesday, LTFRB Chairman Martin Delgra responded to lawmakers' concerns on transport services on April 9 to April 15.

The LTFRB received 437 applications for special permits of provincial buses from March 7 to March 21. Special permits will be released before April 9.

"Hangang ngayon po [Until now] we're still processing applications for special permits. The reason why we're approving special permits this is not the regular season where you have the daily routes of people going to school and to work, and these are special locations to go to," Delgra said.

Land Transportation Office (LTO) chief Edgar Galvante said they met with public utility operators and drivers to remind them about road safety measures.

"It's nice that some of them nag-volunteer to include 'yung pagche-check, pati drug tests noong drivers," Galvante said

Committee chairman Rep. Cesar Sarmiento said security and convenience of commuters are top priorities during Holy Week operations.

Lawmakers also advised transport operators to make sure all units are road-worthy, and drivers are in shape to avoid accidents.

Major crashes and accidents hounded transport services in the past two months: the Tanay bus crash in February which killed 14 students and the driver, and the Roll-on/Roll-off ferry which caught fire on its way to the Batangas port two weeks ago.

Mandatory clean restrooms for bus terminals

Members of the House Committee on Transportation noted that a number of bus terminals and stops do not have clean restroom facilities during their inspection of ports, buses and ferries which are part of the roll-on, roll-off service.

Ports in Batangas, Oriental Mindoro, Iloilo, Bacolod, Cagayan De Oro, and Dapitan are included in the 11-day inspection which ended on March 27.

Terminals and bus stops should have clean restrooms not only for men and women but also for persons with disabilities, as stated in a 2008 LTFRB memorandum circular.

Sarmiento said local governments should check bus terminals in their area to ensure compliance with their business permits.

LTFRB board member Aileen Lizada said passengers can file complaints against bus companies if they find their terminals inconvenient and below government standards.