Challenges met at transport dep’t

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    ‘It is important that both operators, personnel and passengers of these buses get accustomed to the “new normal” in commuting, such as the mandatory wearing of face masks and gloves…’

    IT was reported yesterday that the Department of Transportation (DOTr) has opened 28 more routes for more than 200 point-to-point (P2P) buses to ferry more commuters from home to their work places and back.

    The move was taken following a systematic monitoring of day-to-day transport situation, as Metro Manila and nearby provinces entered the second week of a more relaxed lockdown.

    The DOTr and the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) said a total of 268 buses will be deployed in the National Capital Region, as well as in Imus, Bacoor, Dasmariñas, and Noveleta in Cavite; Sta. Rosa and Calamba in Laguna; Cainta and Antipolo in Rizal; Malolos, Balagtas, Pandi, Sta. Maria, and Plaridel in Bulacan; and to the Ninoy Aquino International Airport and Sangley Airport in Cavite.

    These newly identified routes include Las Piñas-Makati; Sucat/PITX-Makati; Eastwood-Makati; Fairview-Makati; Alabang-Makati; Alabang-Ortigas; Alabang-BGC; Antipolo-Ortigas CBD; Antipolo-Makati CBD; Cainta-Makati; Imus-Makati; Noveleta-Makati, Sangley Airport/ Cavite City-NAIA, Makati-Bacoor, Makati-Dasmariñas, Alabang-Bacoor, Alabang-Dasmariñas, Taguig-Makati, Taguig-Ortigas, Malolos-North EDSA, Sta. Maria/Bocaue-North EDSA, Balagtas (Bulacan)-North EDSA, Pandi (Bulacan)-North EDSA, Plaridel (Bulacan)-North EDSA, Sta. Rosa, (Laguna)-Makati City, Calamba (Laguna)- Makati, Calamba-BGC/ Fort Bonifacio, and Calamba-Lawton.

    According to the LTFRB, the P2P buses have been issued special permits as part of the control measures enforced under the general community quarantine. The operators have vowed to abide by stringent conditions which include health and safety protocols set by the DOTr and Department of Health to ensure safety of passengers and bus personnel.

    It is important that both operators, personnel and passengers of these buses get accustomed to the “new normal” in commuting, such as the mandatory wearing of face masks and gloves, thorough and regular disinfecting of the buses and bus terminals, physical distancing, 50 percent seating capacity, automatic fare collection system for cashless payments, RFID tags, and others.

    As to the controversial city buses, more routes were launched last Monday, to serve Route 3 from Monumento to the Valenzuela Gateway Complex; Route 11 from Gilmore to Taytay, Rizal; Route 13 from Buendia to BGC; and Route 21 from Monumento to San Jose Del Monte, Bulacan.

    Going forward, the DOTr has started Phase 1 of transport opening up until June 21, allowing the operation but with a limited passenger capacity of trains, bus augmentation for trains, taxis, transport network vehicle services, shuttle services, P2P buses, bicycles and tricycles, the last one subject to prior approval of the concerned local government unit.

    All public utility buses, modern jeepneys, and UV Express will be permitted back on the road for the second phase which will run from June 22 to June 30, also with limited passenger capacity.

    When this happens, life in Luzon will somehow approximate what we have had during the pre-March 15 outbreak, with the DOTr under Secretary Arthur Tugade making a big contribution to the normalcy.