Philippines – A lawmaker called on the Department of Transportation to allow more traditional buses and jeepneys to ply Metro Manila and provincial routes as recommended by consultants of the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board.
This comes after Metro Manila finally lifted curfew ordinances amid a reported decline in COVID-19 cases, which eventually led to the passenger capacity of public utility vehicles being increased to 70%.
Consequently, Sen. Risa Hontiveros said that this can be done even only on a provisional basis, and without derailing the Public Utility Vehicle Modernization Program to ensure the safety of commuters.
Hontiveros in her statement stressed the importance of deploying a sufficient number of PUVs amid dramatic drop of units along EDSA to prevent passengers from sitting in close proximity to each other.
The good news is that the number of COVID-19 cases in the country is declining, but we must not be complacent. We must ensure that there are enough passing jeeps, buses and UV express to be safe, not crowded, and still have physical distancing to avoid the spread of the virus again,
Transport groups have long been calling on the national government to allow more vehicles to ply their routes to offset the effects of decreased capacity, saying more public utility vehicles on the road will help ensure that commuters comply with the quarantine rules in public transportation.
Bus and jeepney passengers know the rules and we believe that most of them want to obey these rules. However, it is a fact that there is a supply problem in the current public transportation landscape and this is a great hindrance in how to effectively implement our COVID-19 protocols.
This is clearly a problem of the lack of spaces for PUV passengers and it is the reason why commuters are left with no choice but to occupy remaining seats or even bus aisles meant to be vacant for social distancing. It will be very helpful if the DOTR will give a go-signal for more PUVs on our roads.
Consequently, Hontiveros also stated that the additional number of PUVs on Metro Manila roads will not only reduce the long lines and waiting time in stations, but can also decrease the number of private cars clogging the streets.
With so many parked vehicles, let’s use them first while there are no modern jeepneys and buses. Again, that’s a win-win for both the drivers and commuters. Passengers. To date, health authorities have recorded 2.80 million coronavirus infections in the country, 32,077 of whom are still classified as active cases.