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Provincial buses still banned in MM; fate known on June 22

Provincial buses need the consent of local government units (LGUs) where they would pass through to be able to operate in Metro Manila, Department of Transportation (DOTr) consultant Alberto Suansing said on Thursday.

“The LGUs’ permission for the buses to pass through their areas has to be secured. Unless this is given in coordination with the [Department of the Interior and Local Government], the operation of provincial buses would continue to be suspended,” Suansing said at the Laging Handa briefing.

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Bus operators must coordinate as well with the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases as resumption of operations would entail “challenges,” he added.

Presidential spokesperson Harry Roque said the initial plan to resume provincial bus routes was under the assumption that community quarantine restrictions were eased further.

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He said the DOTr would make an announcement on the fate of provincial buses by June 22.

On June 22, public utility buses, modern public utility vehicles (PUVs) and UV express vehicles would be allowed to operate with limited passenger capacity, Roque said.

Jeepneys not allowed

But traditional jeepneys would continue to be prohibited and would only be allowed to operate if the supply of buses and modern PUVs proved inadequate.

The government cited the difficulty of maintaining physical distancing in these vehicles for the continued ban on its operations.

Asked about the DOTr’s plan for jeepney drivers who have had no livelihood for months, Suansing said the government’s jeepney modernization program would lead to better working conditions for them.

Transport groups have opposed the modernization program, saying it would drive many drivers deeper into debt, as they cannot afford the modern, electric-powered jeepneys favored by the government.

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TAGS: bus, coronavirus Philippines, COVID-19 Philippines, health crisis, pandemic, Quarantine, Transportation
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