A leader of a transport alliance on Sunday advised the government to allow all public transportation modes to operate first to accommodate all commuters before resorting to shortening physical distancing standard inside vehicles.
Alliance of Concerned Transport Organizations (ACTO) president Efren de Luna also pointed out that more commuters will be accommodated if all public transport vehicles are allowed to ply their routes.
Moreover, De Luna said that reducing the social distancing standard in public transport vehicles from 1-meter distance to 0.75 meter is unnecessary.
“Bakit nagkakaroon agad tayo ng pagluluwag sa distancing ngayong marami pa namang ibang nag-aabang na payagang tumakbo at may prangkisa at nag-aabang na makapaglingkod sa mga pasahero,” he said in an interview on Dobol B sa News TV.
The Department of Transportation (DOTr) is pushing through with the implementation of reduced physical distancing inside public mass transport on Monday.
It could be further reduced to 0.5 meters after two weeks and to 0.3 meters after another two weeks. According to DOTR, this is to increase ridership in public transportation.
De Luna noted that only 30 percent of the additional 1,800 jeepneys that the DOTr recently allowed can operate because the rest already went back to provinces due to the financial impact of the suspension.
“Kahit hindi naman magkaroon ng tinatawag natin na pagluwag (sa social distancing) paunti-unti dahil may mga natira na hindi pa binibigyan ng pagkakataon na sila ay makalabas na,”he said.
“Kung kulang 'yan, bakit ka kailangan magbibigay (ng pagluluwag sa distancing), samantalang meron pa namang marami na ruta na kailangan bigyan ng pagkaaktaon na makaytakbo,” he added.
Aside from jeepneys, De Luna noted that all UV Express units should be allowed to return to operation, noting that 90 percent of them are still suspended amid the threat of the COVID-19 pandemic.
He assured that the public transport sector will observe health protocols against the spread of the coronavirus. —LBG, GMA News