LRT trains (photo courtesy of Light Rail Manila Corporation)


The Department of Transportation (DOTr) said it is considering the possibility of allowing the operation of public transportation, notably buses and railway systems but at reduced capacity during the enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) period.

Senators, however, wanted additional precautionary measures implemented should the partial operation of public transport push through during the ECQ.

Senator Nancy Binay suggested the adjustment of ‘working hours of essential businesses and industries to change the commute time, and for DOTr (Department of Transportation) to allot bigger and safer bike lanes so that we can encourage others to consider other options like biking.” 

For his part, Senator Joel Villanueva pointed out that “Aside from the drivers wearing protective gears I also recommend that we conduct weekly random testing of our drivers to make sure we monitor the incidence of COVID[-19] among them.”

Senator Francis Pangilinan clarified that these transportation services should only be availed by workers coming from hospitals, food manufacturing, banking, groceries, public markets and other establishments offering essential services.

DOTr Secretary Arthur Tugade, pushing for a 30% load capacity said, “Kung papayagan ng IATF (Inter-Agency Task Force), magkaka-partial operation tayo pero ‘yung capacity babawasan para masunod ang social distancing (If IATF would allow us, we will do partial operation but with less capacity, so it will follow the social distancing protocol).”

The Management Association of the Philippines (MAP) asked this week the government to permit the resumption of important modes of mass transportation to move at least 250,000 workers, which is the supposed workforce size to run a skeletal force to run the critical businesses in Metro Manila. (Jojo Mangahis)