MORE than 300 modern jeepneys have been allowed to serve 15 routes in Manila and nearby cities starting June 22, as the country eases a lockdown meant to contain a coronavirus pandemic, according to the transport regulator.

The decision is part of the government’s “calibrated response to restore mass transportation in the metro and in the adjacent provinces as we transition into new normal,” the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) said in a statement on Sunday.

The routes are Novaliches to Malinta via Paso de Blas; Bagumbayan Taguig to Pasig via San Joaquin; Fort Bonifacio Gate 3 to Guadalupe-Market Market-ABC loop service; Pandacan to Leon Guinto; and Quezon Avenue to LRT 5th Avenue station. Also included are Cubao (Diamond) to Roces Super Palengke; EDSA Buendia to Mandaluyong City Hall via Jupiter, Rockwell; Divisoria to Gasak via H. Lopez; Punta to Quiapo via Sta. Ana; Boni Pinatubo to Stop and Shop; Boni Robinson’s Complex to Kalentong/JRC; Nichols to Vito Cruz; Filinvest City Loop; Alabang Town Center to Ayala Alabang Village; and Vito Cruz Taft Avenue to PITX loop service.

The LTFRB will add nine more routes on June 24 to serve other parts of Metro Manila adjacent to provinces, it said.

These are Bagong Silang to SM Fairview; Malanday to Divisoria via M.H. del Pilar; Parang, Marikina to Cubao; Eastwood, Libis to Capitol Commons; Gasak to Recto via Dagat-dagatan; PITX to Lawton; Alabang to Zapote; PITX to Nichols; and PITX to SM Southmall.

Modern jeepneys will serve 10 more routes on June 26 such as Quirino Highway to UP Town Center; SM Fairview to Commonwealth via Regalado Avenue; QMC Loop; Tikling to Binangonan; Antipolo to Pasig via East Bank Road; Rosario to Pinagbuhatan Pasig; West Aveune to P. Noval via Del Monte; Biñan to Balibago via Manila South Road; Tramo to Sucat; and San Isidro to Congressional Junction Dasmariñas.

Non-aircon modern jeepneys will collect a minimum fare of P11 for the first four kilometers and P1.50 for each succeeding kilometer, the LTFRB said.

Air-conditioned modern jeepneys will collect P11 for the first four kilometers and P1.80 for each succeeding kilometer, it added.

Meanwhile, the regulator said it was still studying the rules for the resumption of UV Express operations within the month.

“We are exhausting all efforts to balance our mandate in transportation with our responsibility of helping prevent the spread of the coronavirus disease 2019,” LTFRB Chairman Martin B. Delgra III said in the statement.

“That is why we are observing a gradual and calculated approach for the resumption of public transportation particularly in areas under the general community quarantine,” he added.

The LTFRB said jeepney drivers, conductors and passengers must wear face masks and observe physical distancing.

“The passenger load of each jeepney must not exceed 50% of its seating capacity, excluding the driver and conductor,” it said. — Arjay L. Balinbin