By Alexandria Dennise San Juan
Six additional routes for city buses will be opened within the week to ferry more essential commuters as modes of transportation remain limited in Metro Manila under the General Community Quarantine (GCQ), the Department of Transportation (DOTr) announced Monday.
In a statement, the DOTr and the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) said city buses can use six more routes in the greater Manila area this week beginning today, June 16.
According to the DOTr, routes to be launched on today are Route 14, from Ayala to Alabang; Route 15, from Ayala to Biñan, Laguna; and Route 27, from the Parañaque Integrated Terminal Exchange (PITX) to Trece Martires, Cavite.
While another three routes will also be opened on Thursday, June 18 which include Route 23, from PITX to Sucat; Route 26, from PITX to Naic; and Route 30, from PITX to Cavite City.
“The gradual opening of routes is based on the calibrated, and phased approach of the government on the resumption of public transport services,” the DOTr said.
“The government is making daily adjustments to help commuters but in a way that does not put their health and safety at risk,” it added.
The operations of public transportation have been allowed by the DOTr to resume in two phases under GCQ which started during the first week of June, after over two months of hard lockdown in the metropolis due to the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic.
For the first phase from June 1 to 21, the DOTr has allowed the operation with a limited passenger capacity of trains, bus augmentation for trains, taxis, transport network vehicle services, shuttle services, P2P buses, and bicycles.
Other modes of transportation such as public utility buses, modern jeepneys, and UV Express will resume on the second phase which will run from June 22 to 30.
The DOTr and the LTFRB said there is a need for additional modes of public transportation as many commuters were left stranded in some parts of Metro Manila on the first days of GCQ due to insufficient mass transit.
Currently, there are at least 20 routes that have been opened for city buses since the transition to GCQ on June 1 which include the portion of Route E (EDSA Carousel), Route 1 (Monumento-Balagtas), Route 2 (Monumento-PITX), Route 3 (Monumento-Valenzuela Gateway Complex), Route 4 (North EDSAFairview), Route 5 (Quezon AvenueAngat), Route 6 (Quezon Ave.-EDSA Taft Ave.), Route 7 (Quezon AvenueMontalban), Route 8 (Cubao-Montalban), Route 9 (Cubao-Antipolo), Route 11 (Gilmore-Taytay), Route 13 (Buendia-BGC), Route 16 (Ayala Ave.- FTI, Route 17 (Monumento-EDSA Taft), Route 18 (PITX-NAIA Loop), Route 21 (Monumento-San Jose Del Monte), Route 24 (PITX-Alabang), Route 25 (BGC-Alabang), Route 28 (PITX-Dasmariñas), and Route 29 (PITX-General Mariano Alvarez).
The public can find the fare matrix for the approved routes on the Facebook page of the LTFRB.
Transport authorities reminded operators and drivers to strictly follow health protocols in public transportation such as the mandatory wearing of face masks and gloves, putting up non-permeable and transparent barriers in their vehicles, and enforcing a limited passenger capacity based on the guidelines of the government.