Buses and jeeps banned, modified coding for cars, in pitched Metro Manila GCQ

The Metro Manila Council (MMC) has suggested that should the metro transition to general community quarantine (GCQ), buses and jeeps will still be prohibited from operating, and private cars will follow modified coding, Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) General Manager Jojo Garcia said on Wednesday, May 27.

Garcia announced the night before that Metro Manila mayors have unanimously agreed to recommend transitioning the metro to GCQ on June 1.

Private cars and shuttles of private companies are already allowed in the current modified ECQ.

"Pagdating po sa PUVs, huwag naman po muna sana yung buses at jeepney kasi mahirap po i-control dito yung physical distancing," said Garcia on the government's Laging Handa briefer on Wednesday.

(When it comes to public utility vehicles, let's not allow buses and jeepneys for now because it's hard to control physical distancing there.)

Garcia said that because jeeps and buses "stop and go" when taking in and unloading passengers, properly monitoring the passengers wouldn't be possible. 

"Hangga't hindi pa po natin nadidisiplina ang ating mga kababayan sa tamang pagbaba, sa mga bus stop magkakaroon po ng marker 'yan para at least one meter apart," added Garcia.

(As long as commuters still don't know how to properly unload from vehicles, there should be markers at bus stops to keep people one meter apart.) 

The bus and jeep ban, however, is still subject for approval by the national government through the Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF) on Emerging Infectious Diseases.

In the meantime, Garcia said taxis and transport network vehicle services (TNVS) can operate in the GCQ.

The suggestion was slammed as depriving the poor of accessible modes of transport, but Garcia said health and safety are the top priorities.

Modified coding

Garcia said that another suggestion is to implement modified coding for private cars, which means that cars can still go out on coding day on the condition that there are at least two passengers.

The rationale behind this, Garcia said, is to maximize cars on the roads, saying that before the pandemic, 70% of the private cars on the road have only one passenger.

Garcia said leniency will be extended to frontliners who will take their cars out on coding day with no other passengers, but this will still be on a case-to-case basis, with accommodation for emergency cases. 

Unlike the bus and jeep ban, coding adjustments only need the go signal of the MMC, and no longer require IATF approval, – Rappler.com

Lian Buan

Lian Buan covers justice and corruption for Rappler. She is interested in decisions, pleadings, audits, contracts, and other documents that establish a trail. If you have leads, email lian.buan@rappler.com or tweet @lianbuan.

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