LAOAG CITY – A local bus company here announced the resumption of trips to Metro Manila starting September 5.
The management of G.V. Florida Bus Lines (Florida) made the announcement on Saturday, saying it is now accepting bookings and reservations for the Manila to Laoag route at 10 p.m. every Monday and Friday and the Laoag-Manila route at 9 p.m. every Sunday and Thursday.
“As of now, we have received a number of reservations but for the convenience and safety of travelers, we would like to remind them to comply with quarantine protocols,” Bus company staff Maylin Villalin said in a phone interview.
For those traveling to the National Capital Region, she said a negative antigen test result is required before boarding while those who are going to the province need to present a negative reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) result.
The test result should be taken within 48 hours from travel, including an acceptance letter from the local government unit of destination, she added.
The bus fare for the Laoag-Manila route and vice versa is now at PHP1,111, from only PHP900 during the pre-pandemic time.
Since January, the province of Ilocos Norte has expressed readiness to accept commuters of public utility buses from Manila bound for Laoag and Pagudpud, Ilocos Norte on a daily basis but there had been a limited number of takers due to travel restrictions.
In April, Florida resumed its Laoag-Manila and Pagudpud-Manila routes but it suspended operations in July when the province of Ilocos Norte reverted to modified enhanced community quarantine due to a surge of infections.
Similar to the entry of returning residents in the province, Cipriano Martinez, executive director of the Metro Ilocos Norte Council, said bus passengers will also be processed at the provincial border.
“Prior to their planned travel, they must coordinate their arrival two days in advance to facilitate their entry into the province,” he said.
Safe physical distancing guidelines must also be observed by drivers, conductors, as well as commuters, with the number of passengers allowed at 50 percent capacity. (PNA)