A TOTAL of 91 traditional public utility jeepneys (TPUJs) under fleet management have been issued special permits to ferry commuters in some areas in northern and southern Cebu Province.
Eduardo Montealto Jr., Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board-Central Visayas (LTFRB 7) director, said these 91 TPUJs are in addition to the first 39 TPUJs that were given special permits (SPs) to operate and transport contact tracers across the province.
Of the 91 TPUJs, 13 are serving the Talisay City-City of Naga route; seven for Talisay City-San Fernando, 16 for Danao-Sogod, 28 for Consolacion to Danao, five for Compostela to Consolacion, 19 for Naga-Uling, and three for Carcar City-Dumanjug.
These do not pass the cities Cebu, Mandaue, and Lapu-Lapu.
The TPUJs that are allowed to resume operations comprise less than two percent of the estimated 8,000 PUJs that serve Cebu Province in 2019.
Public transport systems were suspended when Cebu Province was placed under enhanced community quarantine towards the end of March. With the relaxation of quarantine measures, TPUJs are allowed to resume limited operations.
Initially, LTFRB 7 allocated 693 SP slots for 30 TPUJ routes in Cebu Province.
Fifty more slots were added on Aug. 16 to serve four more routes, as follows: Bulacao, Talisay-Linao, Talisay route, 15; Tabunok, Talisay-Jaclupan, Talisay, 10; Carcar-Argao, 15; and Oslob-Ginatilan, 10.
The additional slots are meant to serve an anticipated higher demand for public transport with the reopening of essential industries and establishments.
With Cebu City now under general community quarantine (GCQ), LTFRB 7 said special permits can be granted to TPUJs for interzonal travel.
Montealto said no TPUJ units have been allowed to operate yet in the cities of Cebu, Lapu-Lapu, and Mandaue.
However, he said he has received reports that some TPUJs in Lapu-Lapu City have resumed operation even without a permit.
“Everytime mi mag-operate, manago man pod. Kung masakpan, P5,000 (for) first offense pero kung nag-expire na ilang franchise o Certificate of Public Convenience, colorum na sila,” he said.
Aside from SPs, the LTFRB 7 requires all drivers, conductors, and any person taking public transportation to observe social distancing in public terminals and designated public utility vehicles stops as well as to wear face shields and face masks inside the PUV.
Violators are not allowed to board.
Passengers are also discouraged from chatting and making or taking unnecessary calls while inside the PUVs.
Passengers have to get off the vehicle first so they can directly pay their fare to the drivers or to the conductors. PUVs must also undergo regular disinfection.
Meanwhile, four UV Express (UVE) vehicles with routes from Cebu City (V-hire Terminal in Barangay Kamagayan) to Toledo City in Cebu Province and vice-versa have resumed operations as of Wednesday, Aug. 19.
Montealto said 11 more UVE vehicles in the same route were processing the requirements for special permits.
These vehicles were among the 21 UVEs inspected for roadworthiness last week.
Montealto said the rate remains at P2 per kilometer.
“Ang atong pamasahe is pareho tanan nationwide. Walay nabag-o sa pletehan,” he said.