The return of public utility jeepneys (PUJs) to the roads of Pangasinan may be delayed despite the general community quarantine (GCQ) status of the province in the absence of a special permit from the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB).
In an interview on Monday, Bernard Tuliao, head of the Alliance of United Transport Organizers Province-wide (AUTOPRO) Pangasinan, said the LTFRB has yet to decide on whether or not to issue them a special permit to travel.
The LTFRB requires approval or a clearance from each town or city in the province included in a jeepney’s route before issuing the special permit to travel to the PUJs, he said.
“We will begin applying for several clearances come Monday, while the LTFRB may grant special permits, it would still be limited,” Tuliao said.
He cited as an example the province of La Union, where LTFRB issued special permits to only 10 PUJs.
“The LTFRB said they apply on the first-come, first-served basis,” he added.
The AUTOPRO-Pangasinan comprises 3,525 PUJ operators.
Tuliao is asking the LTFRB to allow travel on a rotational basis instead of giving only limited special permits to travel.
“Para lahat makinabang. Ilang buwan na ngang nakatengga tapos hindi pa mabibigyan ng pagkakataong pumasada. Maliit pa ang pagkakataon na makabiyahe kami kasi priority daw ang mga bus. Masyado nang masakit iyon (So that everybody would benefit. It has been several months that we are unable to earn and again, we will not be given the chance to operate. And still, a very little chance for us to ply the roads because buses are the priorities. It is really very painful for us),” he said.
Tuliao is also appealing to the operators to reduce their “boundary” fee to ease the struggle of jeepney drivers, as PUJ generated income is projected to decrease due to a reduced 50-percent capacity amid physical distancing.
Once PUJs have been given the green light, commuters will be asked to wear a face mask, observe physical distancing, and there will be a temperature check before boarding. (PNA)