Public transport not allowed in MECQ areas, services to be limited — DOTr

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(FILE PHOTO)

Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, August 3)— Public transportation will be suspended anew once Metro Manila and four other provinces revert back to modified enhanced community quarantine on August 4, the Transportation Department said Monday.

In a statement, DOTr said transport services will remain limited in MECQ areas, in line with the existing quarantine guidelines set by the country’s COVID-19 Inter-Agency Task Force.

The following public transport services will not be allowed under MECQ: bus, jeepney, taxi, trains (PNR, LRT-1, LRT-2, and MRT-3), and Transport Network Vehicle Service (TNVS).

Tricycles will also not be allowed, but with exceptions subject to guidelines of the Interior Department and respective local government units.

Only public shuttles dedicated for frontliners and other workers in permitted industries will be allowed to run under the service category, DOTr said.

The agency stressed that its free ride for healthcare workers will push through. Vice President Leni Robredo also announced her office will bring back its shuttle service for frontliners starting on Tuesday.

RELATED: No domestic flights in MECQ areas, DOTr official says

As for private transport, company shuttle will be allowed to operate, provided it follows the 50 percent passenger capacity rule. Rented shuttles should also secure a special permit from the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board.

Personal vehicles owned by persons or workers in permitted sectors will also be allowed, given only two persons per row are seated.

Individual use of bicycle, motorcycle, and e-scooter (subject to existing traffic regulations) will also be allowed, with back riding now prohibited.

Meanwhile, ride-hailing firm Grab said it would be temporarily suspending Grab Car services from midnight of August 4 — the beginning of the two-week MECQ period.

In a statement, the company said it would look into the possibility of having its driver-partners provide transport options to medical frontliners

Grab also said it would provide free deliveries via Grabfood during the MECQ.

Commuters, drivers express concern

Some commuters, however, expressed concern over the development, saying the shutdown of transport services will hamper their travel to work.

Pahirapan uli ng pagpasok kasi po ito lang 'yung mode of transport ko, bus and MRT. So baka po hindi po muna kami papasukin or work from home po muna,” commuter Rona Marie Salazar told CNN Philippines.

[Translation: It’s going to be a struggle going to work again, since these are my only modes of transport— bus and MRT. Perhaps we won’t be asked to go to work, or maybe we’ll work from home in the meantime.]

Some tricycle drivers also aired their concerns, as most of them again could not earn income for the time being.

Metro Manila as well as the provinces of Bulacan, Cavite, Laguna, and Rizal are set to shift back to the stricter lockdown status from midnight of August 4 until August 18, as President Rodrigo Duterte partly heeded the call of the medical community for tighter restrictions.