MANILA, Philippines — As Manila transitions from a Modified Enhanced Community Quarantine (MECQ) to a more relaxed General Community Quarantine (GCQ), public transportation will somewhat be allowed to resume operations. Buses and jeepneys, however, will still be unavailable for commuters until June 21.
The New Normal necessitates the adoption of a updated Public Transport Guidelines and Protocols. With this, the Department of Transportation (DOTr) announces the implementation of new guidelines for the ROAD TRANSPORT sector. There will be two phases executed for allowing the operation of the different modes of public transportation.
As Metro Manila relaxes its quarantine measures, the Department of Transportation will allow trains and bus augmentation, taxis, TNVS, shuttle services, Point-to-Point buses and bicycles to operate with LIMITED PASSENGER CAPACITY from June 1 to 21.
No provincial buses will be allowed to enter the city and tricycles will be subject to the prior approval of concerned LGU.
The Agency announced last thursday that Bicycle lanes will be installed along EDSA.
“Babaguhin po namin ang EDSA. Ultimately, magkakaroon po tayo ng tinatawag na bike lane na kung saan nakikipag-kapit bisig kami sa MMDA at Department of Public Works [and Highways] para maumpisahan at buhayin ulit ang tinatawag na bicycle lane”Transportation Sec. arthur tugade
(We will change Edsa. Ultimately, we will have bike lanes and we will coordinate with MMDA and DPWH to revive bicycle lanes.)
Tugade added that if the experiment will be proven feasible, the structure will be made permanent. Bicycle lanes will also not be limited to EDSA but also parts of the country if it works.
For Phase 2 (covering June 22 to 30), Public Utility Buses (PUBs), Modern PUVs, and UV Express will already be allowed to operate, also with limited passenger capacity, along with the initial set of transport modes that were allowed to operate during Phase 1.
According to MMDA General Manager Jojo Garcia, buses will have to take the 2 left-most lanes of EDSA. There will no longer be “Yellow Lanes” or the two right-most bus lanes of EDSA
“Yung mga bus po natin, ilalagay sa left side at dalawang lanes sila. Lalagyan natin ng barrier ‘yan para at least mawala na sa bangketa ang tao at ‘yung ating loading and unloading lanes ay dedicated na talaga para hindi na sa kalsada nagsasakay at nagbababa,”MMDA Genral manager jojo garcia
(“Buses will take the two left-most lanes of EDSA. Barriers will be put in place to prevent people from crowding sidewalks, while dedicated loading and unloading zones will also be established so commuters won’t ride or alight along the highway.”)
According to MMDA, Sixteen bus stops have already been determined along the entire length of EDSA which will be same stations of the MRT-3. Buses will be able to unload and load their passengers at the center island of EDSA to avoid the crowding of sidewalks. According to Garcia, MMDA will construct footbridges for MRT stations so commuters will be able to get to either side of EDSA.
To effectively ensure and monitor the limited capacity and passenger load of all the public transport vehicles, stringent sanitary measures such a social distancing will still be strictly enforced inside ALL the PUVs and mass transportation units.
In this ‘New Normal’ period, the DOTr will be harnessing the advantages of technology in implementing its initiatives for road-based transport, to minimize physical contact or face-to-face interaction to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
According to DOTr, the modernization initiatives include the automatic fare collection system (AFCS) for cashless payment transactions, electronic toll collection, and GNSS/GPS. The DOTr will likewise vigorously pursue and promote online transactions in licensing, registration and other documentary requirements.
The Land Transportation Franchising and regulatory Board (LTFRB) will be adopting a Public Transport Online Processing System (PTOPS), a key digital initiative set to run in the National Capital Region on 01 June 2020. This system will allow transactions to be made online for a faster and more accessible service to its stakeholders.