After months of suspension due to the COVID-19 pandemic, operations of provincial buses to and from Manila have resumed, starting with a number of routes to and from Region III (Central Luzon), Region IV-A (CALABARZON / Southern Tagalog), Region VI (Western Visayas) and Region VIII (Eastern Visayas).
Based on Memorandum Circular 2020-051, public utility buses plying provincial routes with existing and valid Certificate of Public Convenience (CPC) or Application for Extension of Validity and registered with Personal Passenger Insurance Policy will be allowed to operate again. According to the same memo, authorized units shall be issued corresponding QR codes and subject to the guidelines of the respective local government units (LGU) and the Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF) on Emerging Infectious Diseases.
WHAT'S COVERED IN THIS GUIDE?
List of Provincial Bus Requirements
For passengers planning on traveling on one of these buses, the following documents are required:
- Valid ID. This should serve as proof of residency or place of origin, age, company or workplace (if employed), or school (if student).
- Face mask and face shield. Passengers must wear a face mask and face shield in order to be allowed to board.
- Travel authority or Travel pass. Issued by the Philippine National Police (PNP) at the point of origin within 48 hours prior to departure. (To save time, check if there is a PNP desk at or near the terminal of origin.)
- Written consent to undergo COVID-19 testing or quarantine or both, as may be required by the LGU at the destination or point of origin.
In addition, the IATF and the LGU may also require additional documents, which is why it’s important to contact the local government first before traveling to check for changes in the policy.
These documents must be made ready for presentation at the destination.
Travel Guidelines to Follow
These are the rules and guidelines that passengers must follow, according to the Memorandum Circular 2020-051:
- Pre-book tickets at least 48 hours before actual departure. You can book online or at the station. On-the-day or walk-in tickets are not allowed unless for emergency purposes like medical concerns.
- NO travel documents, NO boarding. Prior to boarding at the designated terminals, the dispatcher or conductor must inspect and ensure that all passengers have the required documents.
- NO mask and face shield, NO boarding. Passengers are required to wear face masks and face shields in order to be allowed to board.
- Talking to other passengers is discouraged. Same applies to talking on your mobile phone.
- Body temperature will be checked. Passengers with body temperature of 38 degrees Celcius or higher will not be allowed to board. If you have fever or other symptoms of COVID-19, you will not be allowed into the vehicle.
- Physical distancing must be observed at all times. No standing passengers will be allowed.
- Most trips are considered point-to-point. No pick up or drop off of passengers other than the designated stops shall be allowed during the trip. These apply to buses bound for Region IV-A and III. (I’m still trying to confirm if this applies to Visayas-bound buses too.)
- Take note of the following: vehicle’s plate number or body number, the boarding date and time, and the route.
These are the clauses that directly involve passengers. The memorandum also lists down several rules and guidelines concerning the bus operators and drivers, including the regular cleaning and disinfection of the bus units and the application of penalties or fines for violations.
The 7 Commandments when Riding Provincial Bus
The LTFRB also released a list of “7 commandments”, which is a summarized version of the guidelines above.
- Always wear a mask and a face shield.
- Talking and speaking on the phone is not allowed.
- Eating is prohibited.
- Proper ventilation in PUVs must be maintained.
- Disinfection should be done regularly.
- Passengers with symptoms of COVID-19 are not allowed to ride public transportation.
- Proper physical distancing or the “one-seat apart” rule must always be observed.
List of Operational Provincial Routes
According to the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB), here’s the list of modified provincial Public Utility Bus (PUB) routes that will start or have started operations and their corresponding terminal in Metro Manila.
Note that the listed provincial buses will be using either of the following terminals:
- Parañaque Integrated Terminal Exchange (PITx) – provincial buses bound for Southern Tagalog Regions (Regions IV-A and IV-B) and Bicol (Region V)
- Santa Rosa Integrated Terminal (SRIT) in Laguna – provincial buses bound for Visayas and Mindanao
- Araneta Center, Cubao, Quezon City – provincial commuter buses bound for Region III (Central Luzon)
This means that if you’re traveling to Visayas or Mindanao, you need to make your way to Santa Rosa first.
Manila to Pampanga
- San Fernando – Araneta Center, Cubao, Quezon City
- Dau, Mabalacat – Araneta Center, Cubao (starting October 16)
Manila to Batangas
- Batangas City – PITx
- Lemery – PITx
- Lipa City – PITx
- Nasugbu – PITx
Manila to Cavite
- Indang – PITx
- Mendez – PITx
- Tagaytay City – PITx
- Ternate – PITx
Manila to Laguna
- Calamba City – PITx
- Siniloan – PITx
- Sta. Cruz – PITx
Manila to Leyte
- Ormoc City – Sta. Rosa Integrated Terminal, Laguna
- Palompon – Sta. Rosa Integrated Terminal, Laguna
- Tacloban – Sta. Rosa Integrated Terminal, Laguna
Manila to Southern Leyte
- Maasin City – Sta. Rosa Integrated Terminal, Laguna
Manila to Northern Samar
- Catarman – Sta. Rosa Integrated Terminal, Laguna
- Laoang – Sta. Rosa Integrated Terminal, Laguna
Manila to Aklan
- Kalibo – Sta. Rosa Integrated Terminal, Laguna
- Malay – Sta. Rosa Integrated Terminal, Laguna
Manila to Antique
- San Jose, Antique – Sta. Rosa Integrated Terminal, Laguna
Manila to Capiz
- Roxas City – Sta. Rosa Integrated Terminal, Laguna
Manila to Iloilo
- Estancia – Sta. Rosa Integrated Terminal, Laguna
- Iloilo City – Sta. Rosa Integrated Terminal, Laguna
- Miag-ao – Sta. Rosa Integrated Terminal, Laguna
The above routes have been approved by their respective local government units. Several routes to and from Metro Manila and Region III and IVA have also been proposed for approval.
For more information, here’s a copy of the memorandum:
- Manila to Iloilo, Capiz, Aklan, Antique: List of Operational Bus Companies
- Manila to Samar and Leyte: List of Operational Bus Companies
- List of DOH-Approved Quarantine Hotels in Metro Manila, Batangas, Cavite, etc.
- List of DOT-Accredited Resorts in Batangas
- List of DOT-Accredited Hotels in Kalibo & Boracay
- List of DOT-Accredited Hotels in Iloilo
- List of DOT-Accredited Hotels in Capiz & Antique