Bus, modern jeepney routes opened amid closure of some PNR stations

The Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) announced on Thursday the commencement of three routes for operators of public utility vehicle–buses and modern jeeps–to help commuters affected by the closure of certain Philippine National Railways (PNR) stations.

The closure is necessary for the construction of the North-South Commuter Railway (NSCR).

“To mitigate the impact of the closure on commuters, we have established these PUV routes. We are grateful to the PNR for assisting in identifying these routes,” LTFRB chairman Teofilo Guadiz said.

“Once the NSCR is completed, its advantages in terms of passenger mobility along our railways, which is known as one of the most convenient and affordable means of public transportation in the country, will be truly worth it,” he added.

Earlier this month, the PNR announced that daily trips on the PNR Alabang to Calamba route would cease starting July 2 due to NSCR construction. The affected stations include Muntinlupa, San Pedro, Pacita Main Gate, Golden City, Bi?an, Sta. Rosa, Cabuyao, Mamatid, and Calamba.

According to Memorandum Circular No. 2023-020, the LTFRB, in collaboration with the PNR, has identified three routes to serve the affected PNR stations. These routes have been opened for the qualification process.

The LTFRB has specified three routes: FTI-Divisoria via East Service Road and Alabang (Starmall) and Divisoria via the South Luzon Expressway (SLEX) for public utility buses (PUBs), and Malabon-Divisoria, which will be serviced by modern public utility jeepneys (MPUJs).

The agency has allocated 30 PUB units for the FTI-Divisoria route, 25 PUBs for Alabang (Starmall) – Divisoria, and five MPUJs for Malabon-Divisoria. The number of units may be adjusted based on passenger demand, as determined by the LTFRB.

The LTFRB follows Memorandum Circular No. 2019-013, titled “Consolidated Guidelines on the Process of Issuance of Certificate of Public Convenience (CPC) and Provisional Authority (PA)/Special Permit (SP) Under the Omnibus Franchising Guidelines and Public Utility Vehicle Modernization Program (PUVMP),” for selecting operators.

As per the memorandum, authorized units should not exceed five years based on the vehicle’s Certificate of Registration with the Land Transportation Office (LTO).

They should operate under an SP for one year, renewable annually until the NSCR is fully operational. The existing fare for city buses, authorized by the LTFRB, will apply.

The construction of the NSCR, a 147-kilometer urban railway network connecting Metro Manila to Pampanga and Laguna, is expected to last approximately five years until 2028.

The LTFRB estimates that around 30,000 commuters will be affected daily. –NB, GMA Integrated News

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