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Commuters struggle to get to work as public transpo limited on 1st day of GCQ in Metro Manila


Many commuters left their homes early to get to work on Monday, the first day that Metro Manila was placed under general community quarantine. 

On EDSA in Cubao, Quezon City, commuters patiently waited for buses at a waiting shed while it was still dark. However, the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority has said no passenger buses will be allowed to load and unload passsengers at this stop, GMA News' Jonathan Andal said on Twitter.

 

 

On Marcos Highway, some people were seen walking to get past the checkpoint to enter Metro Manila, according to Super Radyo dzBB's Mark Makalalad.

 

 

In Novaliches, Quezon City, commuters already stood on the road waiting for available transportation that could take them to MRT North Avenue Station, according to YouScooper @chekoiiii.

 

 

Meanwhile, on Commonwealth Avenue in Quezon City at past 9 a.m., many commuters have been stranded for hours and occupied two lanes, Allan Gatus reported on Dobol B sa News TV.

 

 

A Philippine National Police truck slowed down and allowed commuters to board the vehicle.

However, the desperate commuters sat side by side, not minding social distancing.

 

Trains, bus augmentation

At the Light Rail Transit Line 2 Cubao Station, commuters arrived even before the sun was up.

All passengers had to undergo body temperature checking upon entering the station.

 

 

 

At the LRT1 Recto Station, at 5:40 a.m., only a few commuters were seen entering the building. Guards wore face masks and face shields, according to Super Radyo dzBB's Isa Avendaño-Umali.

 

 

However, at the LRT1 Monumento Station, passengers formed a long line outside the entrance, according to GMA News' Stand for Truth's Nico Waje.

 

 

One commuter named Jan had no choice but walk from his home in Sangandaan in Caloocan City to reach the LRT1 Monumento Station for a ride to his workplace in Makati.

He was hoping he could get on a jeepney or bus that would take him to Monumento, but none came, according to Waje.

 

 

Only 30 passengers were allowed on the platform at the LRT1 Monumento Station, GMA News' Ian Cruz said on Facebook.

 

Buses were also available at the LRT1 Monumento station to ferry commuters.

 

 

LRT1 passengers said it took them one to two hours before they were able to board the train. However, once inside the train, they sat comfortably as seen in Cruz's video.

At the Metro Rail Transit Line 3 North Avenue Station, augmentation buses were lined up on the road, ready to load passengers as an option since the MRT3 will limit the number of passengers per train set, GMA News' Mariz Umali reported on Unang Balita.

The fare is P25 which will be paid prior to boarding the augmentation bus. 

Strict safety protocols such as physical distancing were being implemented in all MRT3 stations. Security guards are onboard each train set to control volume of passengers, according to GMA News' James Agustin.

 

 

Onboard a bus that was part of the augmentation scheme, GMA News reporter Bernadette Reyes said some seats had signs saying "Do not sit. Keep social distancing." Only a few passengers were onboard the bus.

The bus augmentation units load passengers at the MRT North Avenue Station then will drop off passengers at the MRT Ayala Avenue and Taft Avenue stations.

A plastic cover separated the driver from the passengers.

The bus traveled on a special lane on EDSA southbound making the ride smooth despite the heavy traffic motorists on private vehicles were experiencing on the adjacent lanes.

 

According to a report on 24 Oras News Alert, the Department of Transportation is considering more drop-off points for bus augmentation units.

Meanwhile, at the Philippine National Railways Tutuban Station, there was a long line of passengers waiting to get in the station, GMA News' Darlene Cay said on Twitter.

 

 

Traffic

More vehicles were seen on the road early on Monday compared to the situation in the past two months.

On Elliptical Road in Quezon City, many private vehicles, motorcycles, and bicycles were seen traveling at 5:29 a.m., Super Radyo dzBB's Weng Salvacion reported on Twitter.

 

 

On the EDSA underpass in Cubao, Quezon City, traffic on the northbound and southbound lanes was heavy as of 6:30 a.m. even as traffic on the at-ground service road was light. Commuters were seen waiting for rides on the service road.

 

Metro Manila was placed under GCQ on Monday after two months under enhanced community quarantine and two weeks under modified enhanced community quarantine to prevent the further spread of COVID-19.

Under GCQ, more businesses were allowed to open and public transportation in Metro Manila reopened, albeit on a limited basis, capped at 30% of capacity prior to the quarantines.

The 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.

Tricycles are allowed subject to the approval of the concerned local government unit, while provincial buses are still barred from entering and exiting Metro Manila during the period.

Meanwhile, the second phase will cover June 22 to 30, allowing public utility buses, modern public utility vehicles (PUVs) or jeepneys, and UV Express vehicles. —KG, GMA News