MANILA — The government should increase public utility vehicles during the looser coronavirus lockdown of Metro Manila and other urban centers to protect commuters from the pandemic, a transport advocacy group said Wednesday.
About 88 percent of Metro Manila's 12 million people rely on public transport, which resumed operations at a limited capacity on Monday, the first day of the general community quarantine, said Alt Mobility Philippines transport economist Jed Ugay.
A shortage of buses forced commuters to cram themselves into available PUVs and stand close to each other as they waited, he said.
Most commuters also live away from MRT and LRT stations where buses are on standby to ferry passengers, he said.
"Kung gusto po talaga nating i-prioritize ang public health, dapat dagdagan, dapat sapat ang pampublikong transportasyon," he told DZMM.
(If we really want to prioritize public health, public vehicles should be increased, should be enough.)
The transportation department earlier said more buses would be allowed in Commonwealth, Fairview, and Quezon Avenue in Quezon City, and from Dasmariñas, Imus and Bacoor in Cavite to Pasay, among other routes.
Alt Mobility Philippines supports the agency's plans for additional bike lanes and encourages regulators to allow provincial buses to enter Metro Manila due to their minimal contribution to traffic jams, said Ugay.