Provincial buses still banned in Metro Manila despite GCQ

Provincial buses still banned in Metro Manila despite GCQ
Provincial buses still banned in Metro Manila despite GCQ (Image from Philippine Star)

Provincial buses are still not allowed in Metro Manila, even if NCR would be placed under the general community quarantine (GCQ) starting June 1. 

This is what the Department of Transportation (DOTr) clarified on its guidelines for the road transport sector.

DOTr divided the gradual resumption of public transportation into two phases.

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 .
  • NO provincial buses will be allowed to enter Metro Manila.

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.

The agency also imposed stringent sanitary measures in public transportation in areas under GCQ:

  • 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 1-meter social distance rule between persons will be strictly enforced inside ALL the PUVs and mass transport units, in adherence to health protocols,” DOTr said.

Also read: Año orders LGUs to set up bike lanes

“The modernization initiatives include the automatic fare collection system (AFCS) for transactions, electronic toll collection, and GNSS/GPS. The DOTr will likewise vigorously pursue and promote online transactions in licensing, registration, and other documentary requirements,” it added.

DOTr would also implement the following in the ‘NEW NORMAL’ transition:

  • 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; and
  • Promotion of the use of non-motorized transport or use of bicycles to maintain physical distancing, provide environmental and health , 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,” it added.