Commuters can breathe a sigh of relief once General Community Quarantine rules are set in place. Public transport may now resume under these new guidelines, albeit only at half capacity. This has been confirmed by Secretary Eduardo Año of the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG).
“Under GCQ, i-aallow na iyung ibang public and mass transportation provided mayroong one-meter distancing at tsaka pang mga additional preventive measures,” said Año. [Under GCQ, we will allow some public and mass transportation provided there is one-meter distancing and additional preventive measures.] Some of the examples the DILG Secretary mentioned include thermal scanning before getting into the vehicle and putting hand sanitation dispensers in terminals.
PUBs (Public Utility Buses) and taxis will be allowed to travel and pick up passengers once GCQ is set in their area. The DOTr will soon release guidelines for drivers and operators. At the time of writing, the agency has yet to publish it. It is also yet to be determined if TNVS (Transport Network Vehicle Services) will be allowed to operate.
However, public utility jeepneys (PUJs) will not be allowed to travel during the GCQ period. Año said that the seating configuration of these vehicles does not make it possible to follow social distancing guidelines. This is due to the fact that passengers in the Jeepney are face to face with each other. Another issue raised by Año is the ingress and egress of commuters, which forces them to come in close contact with other people.
In order to follow physical distancing guidelines, public transport vehicles must only be at 50 percent capacity. Año has suggested bus operators practice alternate seating and the mandatory wearing of face masks while in transit.