DOTr gives free rides to health workers
The Department of Transportation (DOTr) on Wednesday assured health-care workers there would be free rides for them in areas under enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) and with limited public transportation options.
According to the DOTr, it has fielded passenger jeepneys under the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board’s (LTFRB) service contracting program for 44 routes in Metro Manila.
Medical front-liners and other essential workers will get to ride in these jeeps for free while the metropolis remains under ECQ.
The DOTr also has a free bus ride program for health-care workers in 20 routes that are likewise plied by public utility vehicles (PUVs) allowed to operate under ECQ.
In addition, the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority has three military trucks on standby as backup transport, according to its chair, Benhur Abalos.
The Move As One Coalition, a group of sustainable mobility advocates, noted earlier this week that many PUVs were unwilling to operate during ECQ, leaving many commuters, including health-care workers, stranded.
It called on the LTFRB to authorize more PUVs to address the problem.
“The LTFRB should expand the number of authorized jeepneys and other PUVs to reduce commuters’ waiting time and queues at stops and terminals,” the group said in their written appeal to government officials on Monday.
They also specifically asked the government to allow all PUVs to ply all routes and to designate a lane exclusively for their use.
“The mobility of people for essential travel cannot be restricted. We cannot afford a repeat of the previous year when essential workers were forced to walk for hours or were stranded in transport terminals for unreasonable amounts of time due to the lack of public transport supply,” the group said.
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