Jun 1, 2020

As the country’s labor force go out of their homes and back to their workplaces after more than two months, limited public transportation leave many lining up and waiting for hours.

This is due in part to some employers’ insistence to have their employees back at work despite not providing shuttle services required by the government as a prerequisite to resume operations.

This morning, Department of Transportation (DOTr) Secretary Arthur Tugade asked the public to extend their patience and understanding to the government saying it did not promise rides for all workers.

“Nakikiusap kami at nagsusumamo sa inyo na bigyan niyo kami ng pasensiya at understanding… Wala kaming pinangako o sinabi na ang transportasyon ay magiging extensive and will meet the requirements of all on the first day of GCQ—and even in the duration of the GCQ for that matter. Because as I’ve said, our approach is partial, limited, calculated, and gradual,” he told CNN Philippines.

Here’s a look at this morning’s commute situation in major locations in NCR.

MRT, LRT and PNR

With MRT, LRT, and PNR lines back to operations but with limited capacity, many flocked to stations early this morning and were met by new safety protocols like temperature checks and marked queues to ensure social distancing.

Inside the MRT-3 trains, plastic dividers indicate where passengers can sit to ensure physical distancing. Photo by Niño Jesus Orbeta/Inquirer
Passengers’ temperatures are checked at various points at MRT-3 stations. Niño Jesus Orbeta/Inquirer

At LRT-2 Cubao station, LRT admin advised passengers to load up their cards good for three days to minimize contact and risk of COVID-19. Only 30 passengers took the train at 5 a.m.

Inside the Philippine National Railways trains, where social distancing is ensured by an attending officer. Photo by Junn Magno/Inquirer

EDSA

Jun. 1 also marked the start of phase 1 of the DOTr and the Metro Manila Development Authority (MMDA)’s new lanes. Inner left lanes are for point-to-point buses and two and a half middle lanes are for private vehicles

Photo by Niño Jesus Orbeta/Inquirer
Modern buses are operational starting today to offset the reduced capacity of MRT-3. Each bus leaves after three minutes at the terminal, sometimes even if only one passenger is on board. However, only select fleets have cashless payment options and contact tracing. Photo by Niño Jesus Orbeta/Inquirer

Noticeably absent though is the promised bikes and motorcycles lane on the outer left, forcing those who are pedaling back to work to be cautious as they share the road with cars.

Also, contrary to MMDA General Manager Jojo Garcia’s statement yesterday about bikers on EDSA being apprehended and asked to reroute, Cycling Matters’s Jan Belmonte said enforcers themselves are unaware that such order exists and cyclists can freely take up space on the major thoroughfare’s outer lane.

EDSA-Boni southbound. Photo by Jan Belmonte/Cycling Matters
EDSA-Shaw Blvd. southbound. Photo by Jan Belmonte/Cycling Matters
In the absence of other public transportation options, some of local transport network vehicle service Owto’s drivers are offering free rides to commuters along North Ave. Photo by Krixia Subingsubing/Inquirer

Other highways

At other major highways like Commonwealth and Marcos Highway, commuters hoping to go to work early this morning wait as buses come to ferry them to their destination. Some brave the streets today even without assurance that they can commute because their employers did not provide them with shuttle services.

Passengers waiting for a ride along Marcos Highway keep physical distancing as part of health protocols against the spread of COVID-19. Photo by Abel Ulanday/Inquirer
People waiting for a ride on Commonwealth Ave., Quezon City. No jeepneys and UV express. The few buses that stopped were shuttle services. Photo by Miguel Camus/Inquirer

 

Header photo courtesy of Miguel Camus/Inquirer

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Read more:

Jeeps not safe vs. COVID-19? Drivers already implementing safety adjustments, says PISTON

No buses or UV Express yet as NCR shifts to GCQ next week—DOTr

As Metro Manila shifts to GCQ, we may not need quarantine passes anymore, says Año

TAGS: buses Commonwealth commute covid-19 dotr Edsa gcq LRT marcos highway mrt owto transportation