Wait-see for school shuttle providers

De la Paz said that, at most, students would come to their schools twice a week this August, thus they would be having problems setting the pricing for their services

KIDS will resume full face-to-face classes in November this year according to the Department of Education. Photo shows pilot-testing of in-person schooling in 2021. | TED ALJIBE/AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

August 7, 2022

Some operators and drivers of school shuttle services are having second thoughts about resuming operations this month despite the go-signal given them by the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB).

Celso de la Paz, president of the Nagkakaisang Alyansa ng School Service sa Pilipinas, said there were those in his group who have decided to sit out the month with the continuation of blended learning.

He said that at most, students would come to their schools twice a week, thus they would be having problems setting the pricing for their services.

While the school year would start on 22 August, full face-to-face classes will only resume in November as ordered by the Department of Education headed by Vice President Sara Z. Duterte.

“If we are going to pick them up twice a week, we may not earn enough to pay our drivers and to cover the cost of fuel,” De la Paz said in Filipino.

On Friday, the LTFRB released Memorandum Circular 2022-066 signed on 28 July, allowing transport units with active Certificate of Public Convenience (CPC) or Provisional Authority to operate.

The LTFRB said those with expired CPCs, but with pending applications to extend their validity would also be allowed to operate.

It added that those with CPCs that have expiry dates from 1 March 2020 to 31 August 2022 shall be allowed to file an extension application with waived penalties.

“This is in recognition of the adverse financial impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on operators and drivers of school transport services,” it said.

The LTFRB said it will also waive penalties for school transport units with “pending confirmation” from 1 March 2020 to 1 August 2022.

Drivers and operators of school transport were reminded that their vehicles must have steel-grilled windows, seatbelts for all passengers, fire extinguishers, and a stop-go signage to be used by the conductor in helping kids cross the street.

The DepEd reported on Thursday that the number of students for schoolyear 2022-2023 has reached 13.15 million.

Many parents have aired concern over the availability of public transport for kids returning to school after two years of online learning to stem the spread of Covid-19.

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