We heard the sentiments and understand the predicament of workers in commuting from their places of residence to their workplaces and vice-versa when we reopened the economy.
The Department of Transportation opened eight (8) city bus routes last week and, upon the instruction of the President, will open three (3) more on Monday, June 8, and more rationalized routes in the next few days.
We have to consider, however, that Metro Manila, is still under General Community Quarantine; thus, the threat of COVID-19 still exists and is real. At this juncture, we still cannot let all modes of transportation to be on the streets. This will defeat the purpose of quarantine. Unless a vaccine or cure is available, we must not let our guards down.
The DOTr implemented a gradual, calibrated and partial resumption of public transport under two phases. From June 1 -21, 2020, public transportation included train and bus augmentation, taxis and TNVS, shuttle services, point-to-point buses, public utility buses and bicycles. Public utility buses, which originally were from Phase 2, were gradually put to Phase 1. Twenty-eight (28) point-to-point routes, with 268 bus units, provided access to commuters from peripheral areas such as Alabang, Bacoor, Bulacan, and Antipolo. Around 31,700 taxis and TNVs were likewise deployed, and are using cashless transactions and online payments for fare collection. In the case of health workers and medical frontliners, we have been continuously proving freed rides in almost 20 routes and 95 hospitals around Metro Manila. In fact, as of June 6, 2020, the DOTr Free Ride for Health Workers was able to reach 1,073,975 in terms of ridership nationwide. From June 22-30, 2020, modern public utility vehicles, and UV express will be added, following a hierarchy of public transportation.
Daily assessments are done on the transportation sector. The Government is trying to do more in order to help everyone. We also reiterate our appeal to the private sector to provide shuttle services to their employees. What the Administration is doing is balancing the need to revitalize the economy so that we can have livelihood and jobs while looking out for and protecting the health and safety of the public as well.