LTFRB allows school transport services to resume operations │ GMA News Online

The Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) on Friday announced it has allowed school transport services to resume operations.

The agency’s announcement came ahead of the opening of School Year 2022-2023 later this month.

In a statement, the LTFRB cited its Memorandum Circular No. 2022-066, signed on July 28, 2022, allowing those with an active Certificate of Public Convenience (CPC) or Provisional Authority (PA), as well as those with an expired CPC but with a pending Application for Extension of Validity to operate for the coming school year.

The LTFRB has waived penalties for transport services that submit an application for an Extension of Validity for CPCs that expire between March 1, 2020 and August 31, 2022.

“This is in recognition of the adverse financial impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on operators and drivers of school transport services,” it said.

The LTFRB also waived penalties for school service units with pending confirmation from March 2020 to August 31, 2022.

According to the LTFRB, school transport services that will be allowed to operate must comply with the following conditions:

  • Secured windows (steel-grilled)
  • Seat belts for all passengers
  • Working portable fire extinguisher
  • “STOP” and “GO” signs to be carried by the driver when children cross the street
  • Wearing of prescribed uniform by the drivers and conductors

Operators must also observe the following health and safety protocols as prescribed by the Department of Health (DOH) and the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF):

  • Regular examination of the drivers and conductors’ fitness to work by checking their body temperature and screening for any symptoms of COVID-19
  • Regular disinfection of frequently touched surfaces, such as but not limited to seats, armrests, and handles
  • Mandatory wearing of face masks at all times by drivers and conductors, including passengers

“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,” it said.

“Meanwhile, to meet the expected increase in passenger demand at the start of face-to-face classes, LTFRB is considering opening more than 100 routes, particularly within the university belt and other areas with a high concentration of students.”

Classes for basic education will start on August 22, 2022, and will end on July 7, 2023, the Department of Education (DepEd) previously announced.

Up until October, blended learning schedules and fully online education will be permitted, but by November 2, all public and private schools in the country should have transitioned to five days of in-person classes.

The Commission on Higher Education, for its part, said that it would leave it up to colleges and universities to decide on their learning structures, explaining that it could not compel them to fully implement face-to-face classes. —Ted Cordero and Sundy Locus/VBL, GMA News

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