The Department of Transportation (DOTr) is now looking at the possibility of allowing jeepneys to resume trips in general community quarantine areas ahead of schedule, depending on the need for public transportation options.
According to Transportation Assistant Secretary for Road Transport and Infrastructure Mark Richmund De Leon, it is possible that jeepneys will be allowed to resume operations ahead of the earlier announced schedule of June 22, should the available modes of transport prove to be insufficient.
"Kung hindi sufficient 'yung bus na 'yan, ang next na titignan natin ay 'yung mga modern jeepneys. Kapag hindi pa rin available 'yung mga modern jeepneys na 'yan, saka na lang tayo titingin kung may mga available na UV Express at 'yung mga lumang jeepneys," he said in a report on GMA's "24 Oras Weekend" on Sunday.
The DOTr earlier said gradual resumption of public transportation will be made in two phases, with the first phase from June 1 to 21, allowing trains and bus augmentation, taxis, transport network vehicle services, shuttle services, point-to-point buses, and bicycles.
Jeepneys, along with public utility buses, modern public utility vehicles (PUVs) or jeepneys, and UV Express vehicles are only allowed under the Phase 2 covered from June 22 to 30.
For her part, DOTr spokesperson Goddes Libiran said that the while public transportation resumes, health and public safety is still first priority over comfort and convenience.
"Hindi ito para i-encourage lahat ng mga tao na magsilabas, magpasukan sa trabaho. Hindi ganon, kasi nasa community quarantine pa rin tayo, mataas pa rin 'yung lebel ng threat," she said in the same report.
"Naiintindihan namin na responsibilidad ng DOTr na makapag-provide ng public transportation, pero sa ganitong panagon 'yung public health and public safety comes first before comfort and convenience so this is more of a public health issue than a public transportation issue," she added.
The Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) earlier on Sunday said it has approved a total of 23,067 taxis and TNVS to operate on June 1.
Meanwhile, a total of 19 train sets will be deployed by the MRT3 on June 1, higher than the previous average of 14 train sets prior to the quarantines. — Jon Viktor D. Cabuenas/BM, GMA News