THE Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) 7 has reopened the bus routes from Dumaguete City, Negros Oriental to Cebu City and vice versa.
LTFRB 7 Director Eduardo Montealto Jr. on Tuesday, Dec. 29, 2020, said his office already informed the bus operators about the decision last week, including Ceres bus operator Vallacar Transit Inc. (VTI).
The LTFRB 7 now resumes the bus operation in the Dumaguete City-Cebu City route after months of travel restrictions due to community quarantines imposed by the government to slow down the spread of Covid-19.
However, Montealto said the bus operators' main problem is the lack of passengers. He learned that several residents of Dumaguete City were hesitant to travel to Cebu City as they knew they would be subjected to a mandatory quarantine when they returned.
Montealto said the VTI is currently processing its application for special permits for at least 12 buses that are expected to resume operating in the Dumaguete City-Cebu City route.
The number of buses can possibly go up, depending on the volume of commuters.
The LTFRB 7 will be also monitoring transport companies to ensure that those issued with special permits to operate are servicing their routes.
Montealto said the first batch of buses will possibly service the inter-province route in the middle of January 2021.
A total of 18 traditional public utility jeepneys have been issued special permits to operate within Mandaue City as of Tuesday, December 29.
Eleven of these traditional jeeps travel within Mandaue City. Three units ply the Liloan-Mandaue City route.
The routes Lapu-Lapu City-Mandaue City, Danao City-Mandaue City, Compostela-Mandaue City and Consolacion-Mandaue City are served with one unit each.
In Cebu City, a total of 324 traditional jeepneys units were issued with special permits.
Montealto said there is no limit now as to how many TPUJs are allowed to reoperate in Metro Cebu as long as these units are already under a consolidated corporation or a cooperative.
He said the deadline for the consolidation was supposed to be on December 31, but it was extended to March 31, 2021.
Montealto said he consulted the local officials if they will allow the LTFRB 7 to pull out the buses serving their localities as the traditional jeepneys have already augmented the public transport. But the local officials decided not to recall the buses as yet, Montealto said.
In Cebu City alone, a total of 192 public utility buses are operating as of now.
A total of 872 buses are plying the roads of Metro Cebu and Cebu Province, while 297 modern public utility jeepneys are transporting passengers in Cebu. (WBS)