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DOTr: Resumption of public transport in GCQ areas will be in 2 phases

The Department of Transportation (DOTr) on Friday announced it will gradually allow public modes of transportation in areas under more relaxed general community quarantine (GCQ).

“[T]here will be two phases to be executed for allowing the operation of the different modes of public transportation,” the DOTr said in a statement.

Under Phase 1, covering June 1 to 21, trains and bus augmentation, taxis, TNVS (transport network vehicle services), shuttle services, point-to-point buses, and bicycles will be allowed to operate with a limited passenger capacity.

Tricycles will also be allowed, subject to the prior approval of the concerned local government units.

Provincial buses will be barred from entering Metro Manila during the June 1 to 21 period.

In Phase 2, covering June 22 to 30, public utility buses, modern PUVs or jeepneys, and UV Express will be allowed to operate, also with limited passenger capacity.

Transport modes allowed under Phase 2 will operate alongside those allowed during Phase 1, the DOTr said.

The Transportation department also reiterated the new normal guidelines which must be observed by the road transport sector:

  • 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

“To effectively ensure and monitor the limited capacity and passenger load of all the public transport vehicles, the one meter social distance rule between persons will be strictly enforced inside ALL the PUVs and mass transport units, in adherence to health protocols,” the DOTr said.

“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,” it said.

Modernization initiatives include the automatic fare collection system (AFCS) for cashless payment transactions, electronic toll collection, and global navigation satellite system/global positioning system.

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

Tthe Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) will be adopting the Public Transport Online Processing System (PTOPS), which is set to run in the National Capital Region on June 1, it said.

“This system will allow transactions to be made online, except the publication and hearing of cases—which will make LTFRB services faster and accessible for all its stakeholders,” the DOTr said.

Apart from social distancing protocols, the DOTr will also implement the following institutional changes under the “new normal:”

  • Routes Rationalization for a 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

In a GCQ setting, the DOTr is also set to adopt a system in EDSA where dedicated lanes will be set forth for buses. 

In addition, the transformation of EDSA will include designated lanes for bikes, as well as the putting up of pedestrian crossing and bus boarding areas in strategic places.  — RSJ, GMA News