Too many passengers, too few PUVs — LTFRB-7
CEBU CITY, Philippines — There are simply too many passengers in Metro Cebu these days as compared to the servicing public utility vehicles (PUVs) on the streets.
This is one of the factors the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board in Central Visayas (LTRFB-7) sees as the reason why any PUVs have forgotten the 70 percent maximum capacity for each unit supposedly imposed as a precaution against the spread of the COVID-19.
Since Typhoon Odette devastated Cebu, the LTFRB-7 has noticed a significant decrease in the traditional or modern jeepneys plying the streets with only 400 out of 846 registered PUVs currently operating.
LTFRB-7 Director Eduardo Montealto Jr. said the shortage in the number of PUVs serving their routes after typhoon Odette hit since few gasoline stations were operating due to the absence of electricity.
To alleviate the situation, the LTFRB-7 urged local government units to offer free rides for their constituents, especially during peak hours.
Private companies are also urged to offer shuttle services for their employees, just like they did in 2021. With this, owners of tourist vehicles can again apply for special permits, which are for free, so they can ply the streets as service vehicles.
Montealto then stressed the need for the cooperation of everybody since a surge of cases could result in reducing passenger capacity again to 50 percent, which would worsen transportation woes.
The LTFRB has also began apprehending PUVs violating health protocols, specifically the 70-percent capacity since Monday, January 3, 2022. So far, the LTFRB has apprehended 23 PUVs, 15 on Monday and 8 on Tuesday for overloading.
Office of the Presidential Assistant to the Visayas (OPAV) Undersecretary Anthony Gerard “Jonji” Gonzales also made an appeal for the PUVs to follow the health protocols after receiving reports of the overloading passengers.
Gonzales expressed concern over a possible surge in COVID-19 cases, especially with reports of more transmissible Omicron already in the country. /dbs
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