MANILA — The Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board is allowing school bus services to return as many schools resume in-person classes this month.
Elementary and secondary schools would no longer be allowed to implement remote and blended learning by November, the Department of Education had announced. According to DepEd, public and private basic education schools can only implement remote and blended learning until October 31, 2022.
The 2022-2023 school year is scheduled to open on August 22.
In a statement on Friday, the LTFRB said school bus services with an active Public Convenience Certificate (CPC) or Provisional Authority (AP) as well as those with an expired CPC but with a pending application for an extension to operate are now allowed to resume operations.
“Transport services with expiring CPCs dating from March 31, 2022 to August 31, 2022 have been permitted to apply for a validity extension, with the LTFRB waiving the penalties,” he said.
“This is in recognition of the negative financial impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on school bus service operators and drivers. LTFRB will also be waiving penalties for school service units with confirmation pending March 31, 2020 through August 31, 2022,” he added.
School transport services authorized to operate must also comply with the following conditions:
• Secure windows (grilled steel)
• Seat belts for all passengers
• Working portable fire extinguisher
• “STOP” and “GO” signs must be carried by the driver when children cross the street
• Wearing of the uniform prescribed by drivers and conductors.
The LTFRB said operators should also adhere to health and safety protocols:
• Regular examination of the fitness for work of drivers and attendants 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
The LTFRB also said it plans to open more than 100 routes – particularly in the university belt and other areas with high concentrations of students – to meet the expected increase in passenger demand.