By Glen S. Ramos
TARLAC CITY — At least ten (10) local government units from various provinces of Luzon have expressed their willingness and agreed to open their borders for commuters coming from Baguio City.
A statement released by the City Government of Baguio on Tuesday said the LGUs shall be accepting inter-regional routes for public utility buses and public utility vans as soon as all health and safety protocols are finalized within this week.
Among the cities and municipalities that expressed willingness to accept public commuters were City of San Fernando, Clark and Mabalacat City in Pampanga; Mariveles in Bataan; San Carlos and Lingayen in Pangasinan; Olongapo City in Zambales; Cabanatuan City in Nueva Ecija; Bontoc, Mountain Province and the National Capital Region (NCR).
Under the agreed guidelines set forth by the Baguio City Engineering Office, all PUBs and UVs from the accepting LGUs shall only pass through the expressways, namely, NLEX, SCTEX and TPLEX.
Engr. Januario Borillo, Chief of the Traffic and Transport Management Division of Baguio City stated that the Land Transportation Franchising Regulatory Board (LTFRB), in coordination with the concerned local governments shall identify a common pick-up and drop-off points in the 10 LGUs.
“This pick-up and drop-off points shall provide isolation rooms with the presence of qualified medical staff in coordination with the concerned local government units,” he emphasized.
He added that this place shall be established inside the respective terminals of buses and vans with a triage area for incoming passengers and provision for an isolation room/s with the prescribed open area, handwashing facility or hand sanitizing station near a rest room, chairs, face masks and face shields.
No rest stops or stop-overs will be allowed. Buses with built-in comfort rooms will be preferred to ply the route.
“In case of an emergency, then and only then will stop-overs be allowed. Substitution of driver and conductor during the duration of the trip shall not be allowed including passenger pickup along the route,” he emphasized.
The LTFRB will provide the list of commuter and provincial bus upon approval of the receiving LGUs in coordination with the inter-agency task force pursuant to the gradual and calibrated opening of public land transportation.
Baguio City shall issue QR codes to units who will be allowed to travel subject to local government and task force guidelines.
The number of passengers allowed to travel to and from the City shall be limited including the corresponding number of public transports that will accommodate the commuters.
“We will allow at least eight (8) buses a day to enter the City with an interval of at least one hour,” Borillo concluded. (AI/FC/MTVN)