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Baguio gears for inter-regional bus operations

Aldwin Quitasol

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BAGUIO CITY – Baguio City is awaiting the approval of the Land Transportation Franchising Regulatory Board (LTFRB) on the resumption of provincial buses in moving in and out of the city.
According to Baguio City Mayor Benjamin Magalong, he will be sending a formal letter to the LTFRB central office seeking the regulatory body’s approval for the operation of provincial buses in five destinations that have the concurrence of the receiving local governments, particularly the National Capital Region (NCR), Bataan, San Fernando City and Clark in Pampanga and Bontoc, Mountain Province.
He said that for the initial operation of inter-regional buses, only four buses from the approved routes will be allowed to enter the city as part of the efforts to gradually allow the operation of provincial buses.
The possible resumption of inter-regional bus operations was addressed because of the huge demand for mass public transportation coupled with the need to encourage the movement of people as part of the efforts of the government to gradually revive the economy to generate added jobs and spur economic activities.
LTFRB Cordillera regional director Engr. Lalaine Sobremonte said out that the agreed provincial bus operations will be on a point-to-point basis following strict health and safety protocols, such as the wearing of face masks and face shields, observance of physical distancing and the regular disinfection of the vehicles.
She stressed that there will be no increase in the fares of the provincial routes that will be opened even if the capacity of the buses will be limited pursuant to the guidelines handed down under the LTFRB Memorandum Circular 2020-51.
Sobremente also pointed out that there will also be triaging of the passengers in the point of origin and the point of destinations of the provincial buses to ensure their adherence to the prescribed health and safety protocols not only of the inter-agency task force for the management of emerging and re-emerging infectious diseases but also of the concerned local governments to prevent transmission of the virus.
Magalong urged the LTFRB and the Baguio City Traffic and Transportation Technical Working Group to iron out the issues that must be addressed prior to the resumption of the operation of provincial buses to prevent confusion among the concerned stakeholders.

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