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Para kumonti stranded: Poe suggests hiring jeeps to augment public buses

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Senator Grace Poe urged the Department of Transportation Wednesday (June 3) to consider hiring jeepneys to shuttle commuters as operations of public transportation remain limited in Metro Manila due to the general community quarantine (GCQ).

In a statement, Poe said jeepney drivers can install markers and partitions to ensure safety protocols will be observed.

Sen. Grace Poe urged the government to hire traditional jeepneys compliant to safety protocols to augment the fleet of public utility vehicles (PUVs) that will shuttle commuters to work amid the general community quarantine (GCQ).

To ensure social distancing and prevent the transmission of COVID-19, Poe said the jeepneys should bear markers and partitions, and should observe other health and safety measures.

Now that physical distancing is a must, Poe said government should all the more provide transportation options given the limited capacities of PUVs that left thousands of commuters stranded and unable to go to work.

“Malinaw na walang masakyan ang maraming pasaherong bukod sa nagtitiis sa kakahintay sa mahabang pila ay hindi rin siguradong makakarating sa kanilang pupuntahan,” she said.

During deliberations on the Bayanihan to Recover as One bill, Poe suggested that an amount be set aside for hiring of the additional shuttles and that clear guidelines should be in place for the comeback of the jeepney.

She noted that since the start of the GCQ, only 90 buses are plying along EDSA as against the 3,500 buses running pre-quarantine. With only 25 passengers per trip per unit, only about 20,000 passengers can be accommodated instead of the 250,000 before the lockdown.

“A line on the Department of Transportation spending should state that it will prioritize hiring of additional shuttles during our transition process into an eased quarantine,” Poe said.

At the same time, Poe asked the agency to directly subsidize drivers and buses and jeepneys that will be allowed to be back on the road during the transition period.

“This will enable PUV drivers to comply with social distancing measures without sacrificing financial viability,” she said.

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