The resumption of provincial bus and UV express van operations will have to be closely coordinated with the executives of the provinces, cities and municipalities in their destinations.
Mayor Benjamin B. Magalong requested the different bus and UV express operators to submit to the city government their list of travel routes in Northern Luzon and some parts of Central Luzon so he can personally coordinate with the executives of concerned local governments they intend to have their destinations when provincial trips will be allowed.
The mayor and members of the Baguio City Traffic and Transportation Technical Working Group met with bus and UV express van operators at the city hall multipurpose hall last Saturday on the possible resumption of provincial trips and how best to protect the public from the dreaded Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19).
Further, he also urged the transport operators to coordinate with the Department of Transportation (DOTr) and a bus company to re-model their vehicles to accommodate more passengers and still adhere to the policy on physical distancing to minimize losses in income per trip.
The mayor got in touch with Transportation Undersecretary Mark de Leon and Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) Chairman Martin Delgra to bring to their attention the clamor of the local transport sector for a temporary adjustment in fares, but based on the results of their telephone conversation, regulatory agencies are not yet inclined to increase the prevailing minimum fare because of the effects of the enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) to the employment and sources of livelihood of the people.
However, Manila trips are not yet to be opened because of the continuous increase in COVID-19 cases in the different parts of the National Capital Region (NCR).
Under the draft guidelines for inter-zonal public transportation, passengers must present to transport operators travel permits, medical certificates and identification cards, before boarding their vehicles to avoid unnecessary delays in their travel.
The city government will set up a triage in the Baguio Convention Center area for the triaging requirements of the passengers being ferried by the provincial buses and UV express vans upon arrival in the city.
Aside from observing physical distancing, bus and van drivers and passengers will be mandated to wear face masks during the duration of the travel while the collection of fare and verification of tickets will be done in their terminals in the meantime that cashless transactions are being arranged.
According to the mayor, the actual date on the resumption of provincial trips cannot be determined as this depends on the clearance to be issued by the executives of the local governments in the destination points.
He assured the transport sector there will be continuous talks between them in the coming weeks to fine tune the proposed guidelines for the resumption of provincial trips and await the decisions of local governments in their desired destinations. By Dexter A. See