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Still no buses, jeepneys under Metro Manila GCQ

Alvin Murcia

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Physical distancing is harder to manage in public utility jeepneys. (Photo: MMDA Facebook)

Public utility buses and jeepneys will remain prohibited under the general community quarantine proposal, which the Metro Manila Council unanimously agreed to recommend to the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID) effective 1 June.

Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) General Manager Jojo Garcia said all 17 NCR mayors agreed to end modified enhanced community quarantine on 31 May.

“We will wait for the decision of the IATF. Whatever decision that they will do, definitely we will follow and all mayors will be ready,” said Garcia in a virtual presser Tuesday night following a teleconference that also included other member-agencies of the MMC, presided by MMDA chair Danilo Lim.

The MMDA and MMC also agreed on the imposition of lockdowns when necessary and limited modes of transportation.

Local government units will be allowed to impose a lockdown on specific barangays if needed, particularly “problematic” areas with high number of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) cases.

Mode of transportation will be limited to company-provided shuttle services, point-to-point vehicles, taxis, Transport Network Vehicle Services and tricycles.

Garcia said enforcement of social distancing protocols is easy to manage with allowed vehicles, unlike PUBs and jeepneys.

The MMDA also encourages the use of bicycles as alternative modes of transport.

Moreover, Garcia said the Land Transportation, Franchising and Regulatory Board is doing a rationalization of bus route in the metropolis.

“Rationalized routes will replace old ones. Routes will be shortened to allow faster turnaround of buses,” said Garcia, noting 61 bus routes are traversing EDSA.

In line with this, putting up of footbridges and loading and unloading stations on strategic areas along EDSA is under way.

“This is the right time to change the behavior of the commuters. We need to change everything,” he said.

The MMDA will also implement the modified number coding scheme

Vehicles carrying more than one passenger, depending on the guidelines of the IATF, are allowed to ply the streets and are exempted from the existing number coding scheme.

“This is for motorists to maximize the vehicle’s seating capacity,” said Garcia.

However, the MMDA will have to craft a resolution before its implementation.

Under GCQ, Garcia said restrictions and other safety protocols under the “new normal” such as physical distancing and wearing of face masks remain enforced.

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