LTFRB wants carousel buses along U-Belt
FRANCO JOSE C. BAROÑA
The Manila Times
THE Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) said on Friday that it has proposed an additional 100 buses to ply the EDSA carousel busway and 100 modified routes all over the National Capital Region (NCR), particularly along university-belt area in Manila, to address the expected influx of passengers when face-toface classes return this month. “That is one of our proposals, that we add at least 100 buses at the EDSA busway,” LTFRB Chairman Cheloy Garafil said in a televised interview. Garafil said in order to improve the deployment of the additional buses, the LTFRB will tap other consortiums. “A memorandum circular to be signed by all LTFRB board members is expected to be released next week, detailing all the routes to be opened in preparation for the beginning of classes,” she added. “That’s in the pipeline. We will issue the corresponding memorandum circular when we have finalized it by next week,” the LTFRB chief announced. Garafil also disclosed that the agency is having a consultation with bus operators in the Parañaque Integrated Terminal Exchange (PITX) with regard to the opening of old routes so that more buses can be deployed “easily and systematically” in various areas in the NCR. Likewise, Garafil said the agency, as per directive of Transportation Secretary Jaime Bautista, will open modified routes in areas with many schools such as the University Belt in Manila as more public transportation will be needed to cater to students. One of the new bus routes extends from Sapang Palay in San Jose del Monte, Bulacan to PITX via Quezon Avenue. This route, which originally ran from Sapang Palay to Taft Avenue, was discontinued when the pandemic broke out in 2020. Garafil explained that the new bus route would pass España Boulevard to give students quicker access to the University of Santo Tomas and nearby schools, such as Far Eastern University, University of the East, and National University. The route will also partly span the length of Taft Avenue, passing the campuses of De La Salle University and College of Saint Benilde, and near the University of the Philippines in Manila. As for jeepneys and UV express, she said “all non-EDSA routes will be reopened.” “We also have a consultation set up with respect to jeepney and UV express operators next week so that we can discuss and iron out the deployment in the old routes,” Garafil said. She explained that these modified routes will not pass through EDSA, the capital’s busiest avenue, because it is already served by the EDSA carousel busway, or the bus rapid transit line that runs from Monumento in Caloocan City to the PITX. “These are all non-EDSA routes because of the EDSA Busway, which was our controlling factor. So, all non-EDSA routes will be opened,” Garafil said, adding that this was part of her agency’s “route rationalization” program. Last week, the LTFRB issued a separate memo that allowed the full operation of school transport services but with several conditions on health protocols.