'No basis for exclusion': Health professionals call for return of traditional jeepneys

enablePagination: false
maxItemsPerPage: 10
maxPaginationLinks: 10

Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, August 6) — A group of health professionals has called on the government to allow traditional jeepneys to ply their routes, saying this mode of transport poses less risks of viral transmission compared to buses or modern jeepneys.

Dr. Gene Nisperos of Second Opinion PH said there is no scientific basis for excluding traditional jeepneys in the list of vehicles allowed to provide public transportation during the pandemic.

“We can't understand where the basis of excluding jeepneys are or where the Inter-Agency Task Force based their decision to exclude jeepneys while including other forms of public transport,” Nisperos said in an interview on CNN Philippines on Thursday.

According to Nisperos, traditional jeepneys are a safe public transport option as they allow for better free flow of air owing to their large windows and door-less entrance. In contrast, the riding public has a higher chance of contracting COVID-19 in air-conditioned buses and modern jeepneys due to limited ventilation, the doctor said.

“Especially if you put limited passengers [in traditional jeepneys], then the circulation of air would be much preferable than in one that is air-conditioned or one that is enclosed,” he added.

Nisperos said the IATF is doing not only jeepney drivers and operators an injustice, but also the riding public, noting that many rely on the public vehicle to transport them to work.

He also hit the task force for some of its policies, including requiring motorcycle riders to have a physical barrier or shield between the driver and the passenger. He called the measure “unnecessary,” especially for couples already living together.

He added: “The driver won't look at you, won't have a chit-chat with you, and won't talk with you, because you are both wearing a helmet already. I don't see why that is and yet, it's a requirement."

The IATF should ensure that its policies on public transportation are logical and helpful to the public, instead of coming up with only “arbitrary decisions," Nisperos said.

Metro Manila and the provinces of Bulacan, Cavite, Laguna and Rizal are under a modified enhanced community quarantine until August 18, wherein public transportation is suspended anew.