48 vehicles, social distancing violators, apprehended

LTFRB-7 chief also urged public to report PUVs overcharging passengers

By: Morexette Marie B. Erram - Reporter/CDN Digital | March 19,2020 - 06:17 PM
The one-seat-apart arrangement in public utility vehicles, which is a social distancing rule, will now be strictly implemented with the recent discovery of Cebu's first positive case of the Coronavirus Disease. |CDND file photo

The one-seat-apart arrangement in public utility vehicles, which is a social distancing rule, will now be strictly implemented with the recent discovery of Cebu’s first positive case of the Coronavirus Disease. |CDND file photo

CEBU CITY, Philippines — The Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board in Central Visayas (LTFRB – 7) apprehended 48 public utility vehicles (PUVs) for not complying with their mandates to implement social distancing.

Eduardo Montealto Jr., LTFRB – 7 director, said most of the PUVs issued citation tickets were jeepneys. They were followed by vans-for-hire (V-hires), tricycles, and transport vehicle network service (TVNS).

In a phone interview with Cebu Daily News Digital, Montealto said that the figures pertaining to vehicles violating their bureau’s mandate for PUVs to observe social distancing were only a fraction of those who complied.

Montealto said over 300 vehicles in the region were found to have followed social distancing protocols since they started implementing the order since Tuesday, March 17, 2020.

In doing social distancing in public transportation, passengers must be seated at least a meter apart. Experts encouraged the public to follow social distancing to prevent the spread of the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) which has infected 217 individuals in the Philippines, and over 218,000 globally.

A penalty of P5,000 will be fined for operators violating LTFRB’s mandate.

Complaints of overpricing

Meanwhile, the LTFRB – 7 official also encouraged the public to report to their office any operators caught forcibly overpricing their fare due to the impact of COVID-19.

“We are asking passengers and riders to list down the details of the vehicle in subject, such as plate number, name of the driver, operator, and its franchise route,” said Montealto.

He warned operators that their franchise could be revoked if they would be proven to have forced passengers to pay beyond the recommended fare on their respective fare matrix schedule.

“If we receive information on alleged overpricing from PUVs, we will summon them to our office to explain. They could lose their franchise if they are found out to have violated on the third time,” Montealto said.

Montealto also encouraged franchise operators to extend their patience, and added that their refusal to operate would be a violation itself.

“We know this (COVID-19) is a temporary situation, and I ask everyone, including our drivers, to extend their patience,” he added./dbs

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TAGS: COVID-19, Eduardo Montealto Jr., LTFRB-7, social distancing, Social distancing in PUVs

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