Easing our way back to normal in transportation

Published June 22, 2020, 12:00 AM

by manilabulletin_admin

E CARTOON JUN 23, 2020All these  weeks and months  since  COVID-19  emerged to  threaten  people’s  lives ,  it has been a battle  for the governments between  keeping people safe  from the  virus  and helping them survive  the sudden  loss  of livelihood.

The lockdowns,  requiring  people to stay at home,  did help to keep down  infections  and  deaths.  But there are so many people  in  this  country who  need  to work every day  just to earn  enough  for food. We are now in the process of  easing  the lockdown restrictions,  but  we have to continue  the delicate balancing of interests  between  health  and  economy.

When  the  Department  of Transportation started  allowing some  public  transportation to return  as some offices  and  industries were  reopened in Metro Manila,  the first few days saw many people unable to get  rides, as buses and  light rails had to limit their passengers, so as to maintain the required one  to two-meter  distancing  between people.

Motorcyclists  were  not allowed to  have passengers,  not even wives and other  family  members, as this would violate the social distancing  rule. Last Friday, the  Department  of Health said it  was studying to see if wearing  a “special suit” would  keep  a  motorcycle driver and  his  passenger safe from  COVID-19.

It  might also help if a motorcycle is provided  with  plastic shields  to separate two riders, along with hand-holds  on  the side so the passenger has something to  hold onto  during a ride.  Similar plastic  shields   can keep  jeepney  passengers apart.  Jeepneys have not been  allowed to operate so far  because  of the distancing  rule.

Since June 1, the  start of the General Community Quarantine (GCQ)  for  Metro Manila,  the government has allowed many  light trains, point-to-point  buses, shuttle services,  and taxis  to resume operations, but still below  the  needed l capacity.

Allowing  motorcycles  to have passengers  with  “special suits,    along with other features   that will help  promote  the needed  separation  –  if not the usual distancing —  will help meet the need for more transportation  facilities  in our slow  return  to normalcy.