Hontiveros backs temporary re-deployment of more traditional PUVs to prevent another surge

Hontiveros backs temporary re-deployment of more traditional PUVs to prevent another surge

By Ernie Reyes

Traditional jeepneys (Future Bay Initiative photo courtesy)

MANILA — Senator Risa Hontiveros has called on the Department of
Transportation (DOTr) to allow more traditional buses and jeepneys to
ply NCR and provincial routes recently recommended by consultants of
the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB).

She added, this can be done even only on a provisional basis, and
without derailing the Public Utility Vehicle (PUV) Modernization
Program to ensure the safety of commuters.

“Ang siksikang pampublikong transportasyon ay COVID superspreader.
Kaya panahon na para payagan muna uli ng DoTr na bumyahe ang mga
traditional buses at jeepneys at magbukas ng mga bagong ruta, lalo pa
at inaasahang mas marami na ang mga commuters,” she said.

The Senator’s call comes after Metro Manila finally lifted the curfew
ordinances due to a decline in COVID-19 cases, with a passenger capacity
of public utility vehicles (PUVs) increased to 70%.

Hontiveros stressed that the decline in COVID-19 cases does not mean
restrictions could be ‘relaxed’.

She emphasized the importance of deploying a sufficient number of PUVs
amid dramatic drop of units along EDSA to prevent passengers from
sitting in close proximity to each other.

“Magandang balita na bumababa na ang kaso ng COVID-19 sa bansa, pero
hindi tayo dapat makampante. Kailangang matiyak na may sapat na bilang
ng pumapasadang jeep, bus at UV express para ligtas, hindi
nagsisiksikan, at may physical distancing pa rin para maiwasan ang
pagkalat muli ng virus,” Hontiveros said.

“Ituloy natin ang strict implementation ng health protocols lalo na’t
hindi pa nagsisimula ang pagbabakuna ng booster shots,” she added.

Hontiveros also stated that the additional number of PUVs on Metro
Manila roads will not only reduce the long lines and waiting time in
stations, but can also decrease the number of private cars clogging
the streets.

Hontiveros had earlier urged DOTr to expand its service contracting
program to address the plight of both drivers and commuters amid price
hikes in petroleum products.

“Ang daming nakatenggang sasakyan, gamitin muna natin ito habang wala
pa naman ang modern jeepneys at buses. Again, that’s a win-win for
both the drivers and commuters. Kung mas marami ang papayagang
mamasada, sigurado ang kita ng mga tsuper at kaligtasan ng mga
pasahero,” Hontiveros concluded. (ai/mtvn)

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