Concepcion: Deploy transport buses for fully vaccinated passengers

Published July 22, 2021, 5:50 PM

by Genalyn Kabiling

In a bid to increase safe mobility, Presidential Adviser for Entrepreneurship Joey Concepcion has proposed the deployment of buses for commuters who have completed their vaccination against the coronavirus disease.

Presidential Adviser for Entrepreneurship Joey Concepcion talks to Trade Secretary Ramon Lopez and testing czar Vince Dizon on the sidelines of the COVID vaccine rollout for workers at the SM Mall of Asia on June 7, 2021.(Ali Vicoy/ Manila Bulletin)

According to Concepcion, these “safe” public transport vehicles would help boost confidence of the fully vaccinated passengers traveling between their houses and workplaces.

“Our main objective is to ensure that every passenger can safely traverse from their homes to workplaces, and vice-versa,” he said during a dialogue with transport leaders Wednesday, July 21.

“Buses with fully-vaccinated passengers will give greater confidence to the commuting public and as the private sector is able to achieve micro herd immunity in the workspaces such as in our buildings, safe transport will also be assured from the home to workplace,” he added.

Rolling out buses for vaccinated commuters would complement an earlier proposal to attain “micro-herd immunity” in malls, factories and office buildings, Concepcion noted.

“Since we are highly expectant of population protection—and ‘micro-herd immunity in workplaces—in the goal of attaining herd immunity, it then raises the question: how are we going to provide safe, hassle-free transportation to our employees returning to work?” he asked.

The President’s adviser earlier suggested the establishment of “safe spaces” in workplaces that attain the full vaccination of 80 percent of its employees. Reaching such micro herd immunity would hopefully convince the government to allow businesses to operate at full capacity from the current 50 percent.

“We want to know if the private sector really has an exit strategy in this pandemic. This framework is anchored on the strategy of achieving micro-herd immunity and ‘safe spaces’ in workplaces. On that note, population protection is targeted to be achieved around September or October this year, while herd immunity is eyed to be obtained by the end of the year until quarter 1 of 2022, at least for the NCR Plus,” Concepcion said.

Concepcion has initiated dialogue with industry leaders, including mall and building owners, salons, restaurants, and retail, to formulate a new normal roadmap amid the ongoing vaccination drive.

Some public transport leaders have reportedly welcomed the dialogue with Concepcion and voiced their concerns about the impact of the pandemic on the sector. They have called for expansion of the capacity operations of public transportation system as well as swift vaccination of their personnel.

The transportation sector has been heavily hit by the pandemic as the government imposed movement curbs, including capacity limits on public transport vehicles.