MANILA, Philippines – When Metro Manila shifts to general community quarantine on June 1, there will be no city buses and traditional jeepneys just yet.
In a press statement on Friday, May 29, the Department of Transportation said there will be two phases for the resumption of mass transport:
- June 1 to 21 (Phase 1): Train systems, bus augmentation, taxis, transport network vehicle services, shuttle services, point-to-point buses, and bicycles
- June 22 to 30 (Phase 2): Public utility buses, modern jeepneys, UV Express.
All of these modes will implement reduced capacity, cashless payments, and health protocols such as wearing of face masks, disinfection of vehicles, availability of sanitizers, and use of thermal scanners.
Disinfection facilities will also be installed in public transport terminals and contact tracing will be conducted, DOTr said. (READ: Will public transportation be enough once Metro Manila is placed under GCQ?)
Asked whether traditional jeepneys will be allowed under Phase 2, Transportation Assistant Secretary Goddes Libiran cited the hierarchy of public utility vehicles, which prioritizes allowing operations based on capacity.
“Kung magkulang ang bilang ng buses and modern PUVs, that’s the time they (traditional jeepneys) will be allowed to operate. Ang priority eh yung nasa taas ng hierarchy – trains, buses, modern PUVs,” Libiran said.
(If the number of buses and modern PUVs are not sufficient, that’s the time traditional jeepneys will be allowed to operate. The priority is those on the higher part of the hierarch – trains, buses, modern PUVs.)
DOTr will also implement the rationalized bus route in Metro Manila come GCQ. There will be a single route system around the metro, bringing down the number of routes from about a 100 down to 31. EDSA will have its own “EDSA Carousel” route, running from North EDSA to Mall of Asia in Pasay City.
Part of DOTr plans for GCQ include dedicated bus lanes, as well as a designated lane for cycling. The Metropolitan Manila Development Authority General Manager Jojo Garcia told Rappler that discussions on the bike lane proposal is still ongoing.
Provincial buses will still be prohibited to enter Metro Manila too, DOTr said. According to Libiran, the fate of provincial buses is still being discussed.
Transportation experts expect that PUVs will not be enough during GCQ, which will result in a longer commute and waiting time for PUVs.
Jeepney groups also slammed DOTr for the hierarchy of modes of transport, calling the department’s move as “discriminatory.” DOTr has since denied this claim, saying that the policy is “anchored on capacity.” – Rappler.com