Goodbye, bus conductors? City bus operators receive guidelines on new normal

ABS-CBN News

Posted at May 05 2020 08:49 AM | Updated as of May 05 2020 08:54 AM

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MANILA - A group of metro bus operators on Tuesday said it has received guidelines from the Department of Transportation (DOTr) on the "new normal" following the COVID-19 pandemic.

The country's coronavirus task force earlier released measures on public transport in general community quarantine areas which includes mandatory wearing of face masks, 50 percent capacity for public utility vehicles and suspension of motorcycle taxis.

Among the guidelines the group received is the implementation of physical distancing, wearing of face masks, disinfection of buses, and automated fare system, according to Juliet de Jesus, managing director of Samahan ng Transport Operators ng Pilipinas.

"Talagang ayaw na nila ng konduktor because they want the automatic fare system pero hindi po sigurado 'yun how we can do it...if it's possible within a short time," she told radio DZMM.

De Jesus said the group is set to meet with government officials later Tuesday to discuss the guidelines to be placed in Metro Manila once the lockdown is lifted on May 15.

"Meron po kaming ire-reiterate sa DOTr. Itong aming pagooperate ng 50 percent eh losses po talaga," she said.

"Meron kaming nirecommend na subsidy atsaka other non-monetary consideration pag nagstart kami ng operation. Fuel subsidy is one, yun pong aming amortization."

The group has asked the central bank and the Department of Budget and Management if it could pay its amortization within 24 months, De Jesus said.

"Malaki po kasi ang aming amortization ng mga modern buses ngayon because of the modernization program of DOTr. Puro utang po kasi ang mga operators ngayon. We have to borrow or else wala po kaming operations sa kalye," she said.

The government suspended mass transportation in Luzon in March as it quarantined millions of Filipinos to address the spread of the contagion.