Poe wants 'data-driven' public transport solutions as gov't eases work restrictions

Katrina Domingo, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jun 22 2020 07:40 PM | Updated as of Jun 22 2020 10:26 PM

FILE PHOTO: Senator Grace Poe speaks during a press briefing at the Senate of the Philippines in Pasay City on February 17, 2020. Jonathan Cellona, ABS-CBN News

MANILA - Sen. Grace Poe on Monday called on the Department of Transportation (DOTr) to come up with a "data-driven" assessment on the demand for public transportation, saying more transport options for commuters should complement the easing of restrictions on businesses.

While safety remains the "top-of-mind matter," more transit options are needed to ease the "burden on commuting workers," Poe, who chairs the Senate Committee on Public Services, said in a statement.

"We call on transportation officials to continually make a data-driven assessment on the demand for transportation as businesses slowly reopen with the easing up of quarantine," she said.

"Wag nating hayaan na lamang na walang kitain ang ating mga kababayan sa kawalan ng masasakyan, o mapunta ang kanilang mas maliit na kita sa mas mahal na uri ng transportasyon sa gitna ng kawalan nila ng pagpipilian," she said.

(We should not let our countrymen lose their income just because they could not come to work, or lose a chunk of their income due to expensive and limited transportation options.)

Sen. Nancy Binay earlier criticized the DOTr's proposed left-lane bus stops along EDSA, Metro Manila's main thoroughfare, saying these were mere "experiments" that places "public safety as a secondary concern."

Defending its program, the DOTr said it has been "actively engaging and coordinating with various road transport experts and stakeholders."

The DOTr is "doing everything within its power to come up with viable transport solutions which will be most beneficial to the riding public amid this COVID-19 pandemic and its challenges and restraints," the agency said in a statement.

Last month, the government loosened the quarantine restrictions in the capital region and reallowed several businesses - including malls - to resume operations, but continued to limit the capacity of trains, buses and jeepneys that usually ferry workers to and from work.

The DOTr said that it is working to put a "modern road transport system that reflects the needs of the present, and geared towards being able to anticipate the future."