HAPPENING: Public transportation resumes in 2 phases as Metro Manila, more areas shift to GCQ

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GCQ Public transportation
The first passengers of MRT 3 in social distancing mode. Photo from DOTr.

Public transportation is resuming in 2 phases as Metro Manila and more areas in the Philippines shift to General Community Quarantine (GCQ) today.

The Department of Transportation (DOTr) adopted the updated Public Transport Guidelines and Protocols signaling the start of the Philippine capital’s shift of quarantine status from Modified Enhanced Community Quarantine (MECQ) to General Community Quarantine (GCQ) on June 1, 2020.

The new guidelines for public road transportation released by the DOTr, to minimize physical contact or face-to-face interaction to prevent the spread of COVID-19, will enforce the following GCQ measures:

  • Wearing of face masks at all times
  • Implementation of no-contact measures such as cashless payments
  • Use of thermal scanners
  • Availability of alcohol and sanitizers in Public Utility Vehicles (PUVs)
  • Disinfection of high-touch surfaces of vehicles
  • Establishment of disinfection facilities in various public transport terminals
  • Contact Tracing

The resumption of public transportation happens in two phases:

Phase 1 (June 1 – 21)

  • trains and bus augmentation, taxis, TNVS, shuttle services, Point-to-Point buses, and bicycles allowed to operate, but with a limited passenger capacity
  • Tricycles will be allowed to operate subject to the prior approval of the concerned LGU
  • No provincial buses will be allowed to enter Metro Manila

Phase 2 (June 22 – 30)

  • Public Utility Buses (PUBs), Modern PUVs, and UV Express will also be allowed to operate with a limited passenger capacity
  • 1-meter social distance rule between persons will be strictly enforced inside ALL the PUVs and mass transport units following the country’s health protocols.

Other public transportation initiatives to minimize physical contact or face-to-face interaction include:

  • automatic fare collection system (AFCS) for cashless payment transactions
  • electronic toll collection
  • GNSS/GPS

DOTr ONLINE

The DOTr also announced it will pursue online transactions in licensing, registration, and other documentary requirements.

The Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) will also adopt the Public Transport Online Processing System (PTOPS) to allow transactions to be made online, except for the publication and hearing of cases.

PTOPS is scheduled to run in the National Capital Region also on June 1.

Other institutional changes which the DOTr will implement are as follows:

– Routes Rationalization for more effective traffic management;
– Industry Consolidation, to make it more efficient and financially tenable for stakeholders;
– The use of shuttle services to prevent students and employees from contracting the virus, will also be encouraged;
– Promotion of the use of non-motorized transport or use of bicycles, to maintain physical distancing, provide environmental and health benefits and promote efficient road space use.

The DOTr is also set to adopt a new system on EDSA for dedicated lanes for buses, designated lanes for bikes, Pedestrian Crossing and Bus Boarding Areas in strategic places.

Meantime, anti-COVID 19 dividers for utility vehicles have been developed by leading truck body builder, Centro Manufacturing Corporation.

Philippine air carriers have also set up safety protocols for the resumption of flights.

TELL US in the comments below, what are your public transportation experiences during the GCQ?

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Aurora Quadra-Balibay
Angie is a self-confessed reformed news critic who vows she has finally found infinite value in delivering the good news. She teaches students of all ages how to make the important interesting for audiences across media platforms.