Bus, van operations to resume after Christmas

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The operation of provincial buses and UV express vans is expected to resume after Christmas after all the required inspections of the vehicles that will be allowed to ply the approved routes shall have been completed by the Cordillera office of the Land Transportation Franchising Regulatory Board (LTFRB-CAR), members of the Baguio City Traffic and Transportation Technical Working Group and the representatives from the operators.

During a recent meeting, Mayor Benjamin B. Magalong stated that the initial arrangements that had been agreed upon will be temporary and can be subjected to change anytime depending on the prevailing situation of the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) cases in the city and from the approved place of origin.

Initially, there will be 8 buses and vans that will be allowed to enter the city while there will be unlimited trips going outside of the city depending on the conditions imposed by the local governments in their desired places of destination.

The approved routes include the National Capital Region (NCR); Mariveles, Bataan; San Fernando City, Clark and Mabalacat City, Pampanga; Cabanatuan City, Nueva Ecija; Lingayen, San Carlos City and Villasis, Pangasinan and Bontoc, Mountain Province.

Under the agreed rules, each of the bus companies and van associations are required to put up their own triages in their points of origin that will be subject to inspection by representatives from the city and in their terminals in the city as part of the prevailing basic health and safety protocols being implemented.

Further, passengers must present their negative antigen or swab test results 2 hours before boarding the buses and vans that will be allowed to ply the different routes while talking, eating and drinking during the duration of the travel is highly discouraged.

Magalong claimed that the city may decide to increase the number of buses and vans that will enter the city depending on the prevailing situation as the same is aligned with the local government’s policy on the gradual, safe and calibrated revival of the local economy.

However, he pointed out that the city will reserve the right to temporarily suspend the operation of provincial buses and vans once experts will be able to ascertain that there will be a significant increase in the number of COVID cases in the city but the same will be for a certain period of time to allow the situation to normalize.

Buses and vans will be provided with QR codes that will be printed in short bond paper and posted in the windshield of the vehicles to show that their travel had been authorized by the regulating agency.

The different bus and van operators were tasked to coordinate with the concerned local governments of their desired place of destination to ascertain their concurrence in the opening of their routes to the city for the same to be coordinated with the LTFRB for approval of their respective certificates of public convenience and the assignment of the QR codes of the vehicles that will travel as part of the prevailing community quarantine guidelines.

By Dexter A. See