Approximately 3,600 buses and 1,500 modern jeepneys and UV Express units are expected to return to Metro Manila’s roads on Monday, June 22, as part of the second phase of the resumption of public transportation under the general community quarantine (GCQ).
The public utlity vehicles will be in addition to the 1,000 buses already plying various routes.
“Magkakaroon na ng mga buses sa iba’t ibang ruta at iba’t ibang kalsada. Dati ‘yung España-Quezon Avenue ang dumadaan pong buses diyan kakaunti lang, so with that madadagdagan ‘yung mga units na papayagan. ‘Yung Rizal Avenue to Monumento jeepney route po ‘yan pero wala na raw pong jeepney route diyan ngayon, mga buses na po ang makikita natin diyan,” Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) spokesperson Celine Pialago said.
Returning buses will be designated to former jeepney routes to avoid a large volume of vehicles in major highways like EDSA.
Thus, heavy traffic should not be expected on June 22, the MMDA said.
The MMDA acknowledged the available public transportation is not enough to cover all routes serviced by PUVs prior to the quarantine period. It added that the 1,500 units of modernized jeepneys is still small compared to the 200,000 traditional jeepneys in Metro Manila that have yet to get the go-signal to resume operations.
Malacanang has said it is still studying whether or not to allow the traditional jeeoneys to be back on the road.
“Kung ibabase po natin kung singbigat po ng January, February, hindi pa rin po ganoon. Noong ECQ nasanay tayo na 5 percent lang ‘yung dumadaan sa EDSA na private, nadagdagdan, umakyat ng 30 to 40 percent. Ngayong GCQ meron nang mga bus augmentation, umakyat na po tayo ng 60 percent. Provincial buses na lang po ang hinahantay ang kasagutan, pero lahat po bibiyahe na,” Pialago said.
Seventeen modern jeepneys under one transport cooperative are ready for operations as they observe minimum health protocols including spacing in passenger seats, presence of plastic barriers for drivers and disinfectants, and beep card terminal for cashless transaction.
Two hundred drivers will have rotational schedules for the 17 jeepneys, but they do not expect to earn that much.
“Kung magkaganoon man, pagtitiyagaan na lang muna para kahit konti kumita para may pangkain lang kasi wala tayong pangkain, mamamatay na tayo,” jeepney driver Remuel Aquino said.
The remaining sector of the public transport still not allowed under GCQ appealed for aid.
DOTr senior consultant Alberto Suansing said they will release the results of their study on the situation of public transport drivers.
“Towards the end of the month, maglalabas kami ng analysis namin kung ano ang sitwayson. ‘Yun din ang determinant natin kung kinakailangan ng ayuda coming from the government, like for example fuel subsidy,” Suansing said./Stacy Ang