Metro Manila transportation

Transport group asks gov’t to allow more jeepney routes in Mega Manila

Pia Ranada
Transport group asks gov’t to allow more jeepney routes in Mega Manila

Jeepney drivers from Caloocan City ask for help from motorist after the Land Transportation and Franchising Board fail to issue a permit for them to operate on August 19, 2020. Photo by Pino Arcenas/Rappler

Some 70% of jeepney routes are still not operational, even as more Mega Manila workers return to work under GCQ, says LTOP president Orlando Marquez

As Mega Manila returns to the looser general community quarantine (GCQ), a transportation group called on the government to approve more jeepney routes to cater to the thousands of commuters now returning to their jobs.

Orlando Marquez, president of Liga ng Transportasyon at Operators ng Pilipinas (LTOP), said in a virtual press briefing on Saturday, September 5, that more jeepney routes would provide livelihood to jeepney drivers who have been reduced to begging on the streets.

Ang hinihiling namin, sana po ay makapasada na ang aming mga ruta. Marami po, lalo na sa probinsya ng Bulacan, Rizal, Cavite na pumapasok sa Metro Manila ay hindi pa po nakakapasada ngayon,” Marquez said during a Laging Handa press conference.

(What we are asking for is to allow us to ply our routes. Many jeeps, especially those traveling from Bulacan, Rizal, and Cavite to Metro Manila are not operating now.)

His group estimates that “60% to 70%” of all jeep routes in Metro Manila or between Metro Manila and nearby provinces are still not operational. (READ: MAP: Public transport routes in Metro Manila)

Some of the major jeepney routes that Marquez said are still not operational are those making trips from Cubao to Antipolo, Guadalupe to FTI, and the Alabang-Zapote-Baclaran routes.

Jeepneys ready to follow health protocols

The absence of these jeepney routes have affected thousands of commuters who depend on this affordable and easily accessible mode of public transportation.

Marquez said jeepney drivers and operators are ready to abide by all health protocols so that they can resume operations and get back to earning for their families.

“Libu-libo po ang tao na lumalabas ngayon at kami naman po ay susunod kami sa protocols ng ating gobyerno ng IATF na mayroon kaming mga face mask, face shield, alcohol, mga listahan ng pasahero. Kami po ay handang sumunod,” said Marquez.

(Thousands of people are going out now and we will follow the protocols set by government wherein we have face masks, face shields, alcohol, passengers’ lists. We are ready to comply.)

As for the assistance provided by the government to jeepney drivers, Marquez said only 20% have been able to receive the aid.

Impact on economy

It is the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) that is supposed to review jeepney routes and finalize which ones will be allowed to operate.

The LTFRB, headed by Chairperson Martin Delgra III, is yet to announce its route rationalization plan for Metro Manila, 5 days into the GCQ when demand for efficient public transportation has increased because a majority of businesses have opened.

Reopening an economy without sufficient public transportation has an impact on productivity.

The National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) has said that an economy that is 75.2% open based on the number of workers allowed to go to work, is actually only 58.7% open if public transportation remains limited.

This means the reopening of the economy is not maximized, with a gap of 16.5%.

All of Mega Manila will be under GCQ until September 30, when Duterte will decide whether to downgrade or tighten quarantine measures in the region. – Rappler.com

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Pia Ranada

Pia Ranada is a senior reporter for Rappler covering Philippine politics and environmental issues. For tips and story suggestions, email her at pia.ranada@rappler.com.