Wearing of face mask, social distancing measure required as public transport opens
CEBU, May 11 (PIA) — Even as restrictions are slightly eased to allow public transport operations under a state of general community quarantine (GCQ), the riding public is strongly reminded that wearing of face mask and observance of social distancing protocol are strictly mandated.
Director Eduardo Montealto, Jr. of the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) in Central Visayas released the Public Transport Guidelines under GCQ by the Department of Transportation (DOTr), as more local government units are expected to transition to GCQ within the month from an enhanced community quarantine.
In Central Visayas, only Cebu remains under an ECQ, which if not extended will end on Friday, May 15, while the rest of the three provinces of Bohol, Negros Oriental and Siquijor are now under GCQ.
Under the said guidelines, passenger load shall be regulated for all modes of public transport, which shall not exceed 50 percent to ensure the social distancing measure while public transport facilities and public utility vehicles must undergo regular disinfection.
Priority to run are public utility vehicles (PUVs) with higher passenger capacity such as buses followed by modern PUVs and next on the list are jeepneys and utility vehicle express such as vans with tricycles at the bottom list.
Based on the guidelines, provincial buses are not allowed to stop, pick up, and drop off passengers in areas where ECQ is still in effect.
Public utility jeepneys will have limited operations, subject to the guidelines to be issued by the LTFRB.
Taxis and Transportation Network Vehicle Services such as Grab are allowed to operate but subject to strict physical distancing and sanitary practices.
Operations of motorcycle taxis will remain prohibited until the enactment of an enabling law.
This mode of transport is highly susceptible to COVID-19 virus transmission via the sharing of helmets and close physical contact between driver and the passenger.
In public and private transport terminals, the DOTr required that there should be mandatory checking of body temperature of all commuters and the establishment of disinfecting facilities equipped with alcohol and/or soap at all entrances of terminals.
Frontliners who opt to use public transport shall be given priority seating in PUV units and terminals.
Meanwhile, DOTr placed emphasis that highly vulnerable persons are not allowed to board mass transport systems under the GCQ to ensure their protection and safety.
Classified under highly vulnerable persons by the DOTr are those below 21 years old and 60 years old and above; those who are pregnant; and those who have immunodeficiency, comorbidities, and other health risks.
These are the people who remain at greatest risk to contract the virus, while their health, protection and well-being are the government’s primordial concern.
THe DOTr, however, also considered exceptions which are explicitly stated in the same guidelines, such as obtaining essential goods and services, or for work in permitted industries and offices. (fcr/PIA7)