Cebu News

LTFRB gives school buses green light to ply anew

Darlene Joy Gil - Philstar.com

CEBU, Philippines — The Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) has given the green light for school transport services to resume operations along with the gradual reopening of face-to-face classes.

In a statement released on Friday, LTFRB has signed a memorandum allowing school buses with active certificate of public convenience (CPC) or provisional authority (PA, as well as those with pending application for extension of validity, to operate for the coming school year.

"Transport services with expiring CPCs dating from 31 March 2022 to 31 August 2022 have been allowed to file an application for Extension of Validity, with the LTFRB waiving penalties," the statement read.

The pronouncement came on the heels of the declaration by the Department of Education mandating all public and private schools to start transitioning to five-day in-person classes starting November 2.

LTFRB said that it recognized the adverse financial impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on operators and drivers of school transport services.

However, school buses allowed to operate must adhere to the conditions imposed by the transportation agency, which include installing secured windows (steel-grilled), making sure seatbelts are working, putting on portable fire extinguisher, conductors carrying "STOP" and "GO" signanges when children cross the street, and wearing of prescribed uniform by the drivers and conductors.

"LTFRB is reminding operators, drivers and conductors of school transport services to closely adhere to the guidelines to avoid sanctions, such as revocation of their CPC and PA," the statement read.

Operators are also required to observe health and safety protocols prescribed by the Department of Health (DOH) and the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF).

Regulations also include a regular examination of the drivers and conductors’ fitness to work by checking their body temperature and screening for any symptoms of COVID-19.

Aside from that, they are also expected to regularly disinfect frequently touched surfaces, such as but not limited to seats, armrests, and handles.

Mandatory wearing of face masks at all times by drivers, conductors and passengers is also a must.

LTFRB is considering opening more than 100 routes, particularly within the university belt and other areas with a high concentration of students, to supplement the increasing demands of student passengers.

Along with the easing of restrictions, LTFRB will also waive penalties for school service units with pending confirmation from 31 March 2020 to 31 August 2022. —JMD (FREEMAN)


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