The Department of Transportation (DOTr) is looking into allowing jeepneys to operate during general community quarantine (GCQ) areas earlier than planned—but it will still depend on the need for public transportation options.
“Kung hindi sufficient yung bus na yan, ang next na titignan natin ay yung mga modern jeepneys,” Mark Richmund de Leon, the agency’s assistant secretary for road transport and infrastructure, said on GMA’s 24 Oras Weekend on Sunday, May 31.
If modern jeepneys will still not meet the public’s need for transportation, the DOTr may also tap UV Express units and old jeepneys.
The early Monday-morning commute proved to be a struggle for many trying to get to work. Many commuters patiently waited at bus stops, only to find out that no point-to-point (P2P) buses will load or unload there. Riders of metro rail transits also had to face long lines to get to the platforms to be able to practice physical distancing.
The DOTr is implementing a two-phase gradual resumption of public transportation. Only trains, P2P buses, taxis, almost 26,000 ride-hailing cars, shuttle services, and bicycles are allowed to operate on a limited capacity from June 1 to 21. For the second phase that will run from June 22 to June 30, public utility buses, modern jeepneys, and UV Express vans will be allowed to operate.
The current public transport operations under GCQ take into account that the COVID-19 threat is still considered high until there is a vaccine or effective treatment against the disease. DOTr spokesperson Goddes Hope Libiran stressed that the public’s health and safety are the priority over comfort and convenience.
“Nasa community quarantine pa rin tayo, mataas pa rin yung lebel ng threat,” Libiran said in the same report. “Sa ganitong panahon, 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.”
NOTE: This story originally appeared on Reportr.world. Minor edits have been made.