Interior Secretary Eduardo Año ordered local government units (LGUs) to set up bike lanes as the government continues to limit public transportation to contain the spread of COVID-19.
Año urged people to use bicycles as the primary mode of transportation because they are “safe and cost-effective,” especially in Metro Manila, where jeepneys are still prohibited under GCQ or general community quarantine.
While taxis, buses, and public trains would go back to operation during GCQ, they are only allowed 50 percent of their usual carrying capacity so passengers could observe physical distancing.
National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) Acting Secretary Karl Chua also recommended the use of bicycles.
“There will be a revisiting of the entire public transport system. There will be cases wherein we have to totally shift to other modes of transport, bicycles, for instance,” Chua said during the online forum organized by The Manila Times.
LGUs to set up bike lanes
Chua said there are bills filed that urge half of the population to ride bicycles.
Sen. Pilar Juliana Cayetano earlier filed Senate Bill 1518 that aims to set up a network of pop-up bike lanes during the COVID-19 crisis.
Chua also called to private companies to provide shuttle services to their personnel or accommodate them near their workplace to limit public transport use.
“As the capital transitions to GCQ and that would depend if we meet the health conditions, in June or maybe July, we are mindful that the people will travel to work and there are minimum standards for public transport,” he said.
“Under the GCQ, we are proposing actually that only the essentials will go to work, and for services they are highly encouraged not to go to 100 percent to the office, 50 percent will have to stay home. Classes and schools will not be open, yet so there is a gradual transition,” Chua said.
“We don’t have all the transport ready, but we are also not allowing all the population to go out, so that should alleviate the pressure. We highly encourage the private sector to provide shuttles to their employees and to house them closer to the offices,” he added.
“These are the things that we are doing, and this is going to be a gradual transition. The priority is to take care of everyone’s health and not to create a second or third wave,” Chua continued.