Amid the growing concerns about the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19), the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) addressed the issue regarding public buses plying on the roads of Metro Manila.
The transportation bureau announced in a press conference on Monday that overcrowded buses will not be allowed to help prevent the spread of COVID-19 in the country.
The attention of bus operators has already been called according to LTFRB head Martin Delgra III. Operators are instructed to keep drivers and conductors in check.
“We would like to address that by calling the attention of operators. Kasi po, sila po—yung drivers at konduktor—sila yung nagpapapasok at nagbababa ng mga pasahero,” Delgra said. “We know that under our existing rules, standing is allowed to a certain extent. Pero hindi naman po pwede na there is what you call overcrowding. Especially at this time of national emergency.”
Still, Delgra clarified that standing in buses is allowed. However, packing commuters in a bus like sardines is prohibited.
“Actually, yung nakatayo po, under existing rules pwede naman po. But as I’ve said, especially at this time of national emergency, we are telling now the operators na lalong lalo na sasabihan ang mga driver na hindi na po pwede ang siksikan,” he added.
Delgra also said that the bureau will work on fixing bus routes to help manage the number of passengers.
“To be very candid about it, yung number of buses, the number of buses that pass through EDSA, is supposed to be more than enough to address demand. Inaayos lang nga natin ngayon kung papano natin isasaayos ang mga rota na yan,” Delgra said. “It’s about having to manage the routes moving forward.”
Delgra explained that there will be penalties for those caught overcrowding their buses. The bureau has already approved a memorandum “consistent with the presidential proclamation” declaring a nationwide state of public health emergency.
“In the MC that we have already approved, we are actually again making that firm appeal to the operators, to comply with the MC consistent with the presidential proclamation,” Delgra elaborated.
“Deliberate failure on their part would be considered a violation of the terms and conditions of the franchise. Hopefully, we’ll be able to have the MC released late this afternoon, or at the latest tomorrow morning.”
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