'Roadworthy' traditional jeepneys back on the road this week — LTFRB

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, June 29) — Traditional jeepneys may finally ply their routes once again this week after the months-long lockdown halted their operations, the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board said Monday.

LTFRB chief Martin Delgra said during the Laging Handa virtual briefing that they will issue a memorandum on Tuesday or Wednesday at the latest to finalize the guidelines in allowing "roadworthy" jeepneys back on the road.

"Pinaplano po na ang pagbalik ng traditional jeepney. But we would like to emphasize na kailangan sila ay roadworthy. Mahigpit na direktiba po ito sa Department of Transportation," Delgra said.

[Translation: The return of traditional jeepneys is already being planned. But we would like to emphasize that they should be roadworthy. This is a strict directive from the Department of Transportation.]

"Sila ay papayagan na ngayong linggo," Delgra added.

[Translation: They will be allowed this week.]

In an interview with CNN Philippines earlier in the day, Transportation Assistant Secretary Goddess Libiran said the LTFRB is initially targeting the resumption of operations of traditional jeepneys either on Thursday or Friday this week.

Meanwhile, Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said in a separate briefing that traditional jeepneys are already operating in the following areas: Bulacan, Pampanga, Cagayan de Oro, South Cotabato, Caraga, Northern Mindanao, Davao Region, Cordillera Administrative Region, Western Visayas, Siquijor, Eastern Visayas, Soccsksargen, and Ilocos Region.

Roque said these areas had to rely on traditional jeepneys due to the absence of buses or train services.

A total of 980 UV Express units were allowed back on the roads in Metro Manila and nearby provinces on Monday to accommodate at least 10,000 passengers in need of transportation. Transport officials earlier bared that this will be followed by traditional jeepneys.

A two-phased schedule is currently being implemented for various modes of transport in Metro Manila. For Phase 1, rail lines, bus augmentation systems, taxis, and transport network vehicle services have resumed from June 1 to 21. Tricycles were also allowed in some localities.

For Phase 2, which started on June 22, modern public utility vehicles were allowed back on the road.

Mass transportation had been suspended for more than two months since Luzon and other parts of the country were placed under enhanced community quarantine in mid-March to curb the spread of COVID-19.

Delgra noted that guidelines on the fuel subsidy for drivers and operators of buses, jeepneys, and UV Express are already being finalized to cushion the impact of the crisis.