By: Julie M. Aurelio, Krixia Subingsubing, Miguel R. Camus
No jeepneys when Metro Manila starts to spring back to life on Monday after 80 days of strict quarantine?
That does not seem to be a major problem for the Department of Transportation (DOTr), whose plans to move people from home to workplaces include significant changes on Edsa, the country’s busiest highway.
But don’t have high hopes, either, according to Transportation Secretary Arthur Tugage.
“We have to balance our mandate to provide transportation with our responsibility to help in (preventing) the spread of the virus,” Tugade said late on Thursday night after President Rodrigo Duterte announced he had approved placing the metropolis of 12 million under general community quarantine (GCQ) on starting June 1.“On the first day that we transition and it’s put into effect, we can already put into operation our train and rails,” he said.
“Each seat, alley, queue line has been marked. It’s all ready. We are ready for this Monday.”Tugade said, however, that the four rail lines that crisscross the national capital would run with much-reduced loads.The MRT 3, LRT 1 and LRT 2 will carry only 12 percent of their passenger capacities, while the Philippine National Railways will operate at 35 percent.
But in the case of Edsa, there will be 300 to 500 buses that will carry half the number of their regular passengers to “augment” MRT-3’s reduced load. And there will be bike lanes on the Metro Manila’s main artery, too, he said.Transportation network vehicle services like Grab will be also allowed to resume operations under GCQ.Come June 22, “modern” jeepneys, city buses and UV Expresses vehicles will be allowed but at 50 percent capacity.
Tugade said his office was working on “transforming Edsa’s landscape [by] starting bicycle lanes.”
Read the full story in today’s issue of the Philippine Daily Inquirer