President Rodrigo Duterte announced yesterday that Metro Manila will be placed under the General Community Quarantine (GCQ) from June 1-15. With this, the Department of Transportation (DOTr) releases the guidelines for the ROAD TRANSPORT sector.
For public transportation in areas under GCQ, stringent sanitary measures have been set, and will be strictly enforced, such as:
- 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
In the adoption of these guidelines in areas under GCQ, there will be two phases to be executed for allowing the operation of the different modes of public transportation.
For the Phase 1 (covering June 1 to 21), trains and bus augmentation, taxis, TNVS, shuttle services, Point-to-Point buses, and bicycles will be allowed to operate, with LIMITED PASSENGER CAPACITY.
Tricycles will also be allowed, subject to the prior approval of the concerned LGU.
In Phase 1, NO provincial buses will be allowed to enter Metro Manila.
Meanwhile, for Phase 2 (covering June 22 to 30), Public Utility Buses (PUBs), Modern PUVs, and UV Express will already be allowed to operate, also with limited passenger capacity, along with the initial set of transport modes that were allowed to operate during Phase 1.
To effectively ensure and monitor the limited capacity and passenger load of all the public transport vehicles, the 1-meter social distance rule between persons will be strictly enforced inside ALL the PUVs and mass transport units, in adherence to health protocols.
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.
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The modernization initiatives include the automatic fare collection system (AFCS) for cashless payment transactions, electronic toll collection, and GNSS/GPS. The DOTr will likewise vigorously pursue and promote online transactions in licensing, registration and other documentary requirements.
A key digital initiative developed by the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) that will be adopted is the Public Transport Online Processing System (PTOPS), which is set to run in the National Capital Region (NCR), on 01 June 2020.
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.
There will be other institutional changes which the DOTr will implement in the ‘NEW NORMAL’ transition, and they are as follows:
- 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.