After weeks of having to find ways to get to and from work, commuters can now take a ride on modern public utility vehicles (PUVs) starting today, June 22. This comes after the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) gave the green light to activate 15 routes where several PUVs can transport commuters.

Under Memorandum Circular 2020 – 023, the LTFRB stated that modern PUVs that have met the requirements set by the Omnibus Franchising Guidelines (OFG) are now allowed to ply the identified routes. Operators that have met the OFG requirements have now 'juridical entities' under the government's Public Utility Vehicle Modernization Program (PUVMP) and now have valid and existing Certificate of Public Convenience (CPC) or Provisional Authority (PA) to operate in the National Capital Region (NCR) and nearby provinces.

The first 15 Metro Manila routes will have 308 modern PUVs that can pick up and ferry passengers include:

1. Novaliches – Malinta via Paso de Blas
2. Bagumbayan Taguig – Pasig via San Joaquin
3. Fort Bonifacio Gate 3 – Guadalupe-Market Market-ABC Loop Service
4. Pandacan – Leon Guinto
5. Quezon Avenue – LRT 5th Avenue Station
6. Cubao (Diamond) – Roces Super Palengke
7. EDSA Buendia-Mandaluyong City Hall via Jupiter, Rockwell
8. Divisoria-Gasak via H. Lopez
9. Punta-Quiapo via Sta. Ana
10. Boni Pinatubo – Stop and Shop, vice versa
11. Boni Robinson’s Complex-Kalentong/JRC vice versa
12. Nichols-Vito Cruz
13. Filinvest City Loop
14. Alabang Town Center (ATC)-Ayala Alabang Village
15. Vito Cruz Taft Avenue-PITX Loop Service

All non-airconditioned PUVs will have a minimum fare of PhP 11.00 for the first 4 kilometers and PhP 1.50 for each succeeding kilometer. Airconditioned PUVs, on the other hand, will also have a minimum fare of PhP 11.00 but will charge PhP 1.80 for each succeeding kilometer after the first 4 kilometers.

Drivers, conductors, and passengers of each PUV are required to wear face masks at all times. In addition, these PUVs must have disinfecting footbaths for passengers to use before boarding the vehicle. Physical distancing must also be followed as PUVs are only allowed to carry 50% maximum capacity. This means that passengers must be seated one seat apart and no standing passengers will be allowed aboard the PUVs.

LTFRB activates 308 modern PUVs to ply along 15 routes in Metro Manila image

Should operators want to fully maximize the seating capacity, they must install barriers between each seat (as well as a barrier for the driver) to ensure that each passenger is safely seated. Moreover, these modern PUVs will make use of cashless fare payments. Operators and drivers must also make sure that commuters can make use of their mobile apps or contactless smart cards to pay for the fares.

Soon, the LTFRB plans to open more additional routes for modern PUVs to ply along. Starting June 24 and June 26, 2020, the LTFRB plans to have 19 more routes operating in order to help commuters amid the General Community Quarantine (GCQ). These routes are:

June 24, 2020

1. Bagong Silang - SM Fairview
2. Malanday - Divisoria via M.H. del Pilar
3. Parang, Marikina – Cubao
4. Eastwood, Libis - Capitol Commons
5. Gasak - Recto via Dagat-Dagatan
6. PITX – Lawton
7. Alabang – Zapote
8. PITX – Nichols
9. PITX - SM Southmall

June 26, 2020

1. Quirino Highway - UP Town Center
2. SM Fairview - Commonwealth via Regalado Ave.
3. QMC Loop
4. Tikling - Binangonan
5. Antipolo - Pasig via East Bank Road
6. Rosario - Pinagbuhatan Pasig
7. West Avenue - P. Noval via Del Monte
8. Biñan - Balibago via Manila South Road
9. Tramo - Sucat
10. San Isidro - Congressional Junction Dasmarinas

As more and more people return to work, the resumption of more public transport gives the riding public more ways to commute and not be left stranded amid the COVID-19 pandemic. Just remember to be safe, follow physical distancing measures, and always sanitize your hands as often as possible.