THE Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) has approved the reopening of 43 pre-pandemic routes, drawing cheers from the commuting public.
In the view of various quarters, the reopening of more routes reflects sensitivity to public opinion and public welfare that should be encouraged among other state agencies.
Of the 43, LTFRB said 11 and five routes will be serviced by traditional public utility jeeps (PUJs) and modern PUJs, respectively.
“Ang pagbubukas ng mga naturang ruta ay pagtugon sa pangangailangan mg pampublikong sasakyan sa gitna ng pandemya at pangkabuhayan ng mga PUV driver,” it added.
Records show that before the crippling coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic, 3,513 public utility vehicles (PUVs), including UV Express (UVE) units, plied the 43 routes.
A welcome relief for commuters, who are mostly workers and students, the reopening of the 43 routes is seen to address the lack of public transportation in the country.
The 43 routes are part of the “Metro Manila Urban Transport Integration Study Update and Capacity Program,” according to LTFRB Memorandum Circular No 2022-073.
Previously, there were 98 existing pre-pandemic routes that were authorized to reopen, but were found “insufficient” to meet the transport needs of the riding public.
It is certainly lamentable and disgusting to see passengers “na nagtutulakan para lang makasakay sa mga bus at jeepney, lalo na kapag rush hours,” an irate student said.
By reopening the 43 routes, the government, through the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board, demonstrated anew a capacity to uphold public interest.