Public transport protocols still in place during GCQ
CEBU CITY, Philippines — Despite the shift to general community quarantine (GCQ) in Cebu province, the reopening of public transport operations continues to revolve around restrictions and protocols to prevent the spread of the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19).
Public transport operators would still need to apply for Provincial Public Utility Passes (PPUP) from the Capitol, on top of the permits from the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board, in order to operate during the GCQ.
The PPUP , which would allow the buses to run through the towns and cities of the province, will indicate identification details of the PUV, its route and the number of passengers that it will be allowed to carry. The buses are only allowed to carry half or 50 percent of the original capacity of buses during the GCQ.
The reopening of the public transport sector, however, does not allow everyone to travel just yet.
“Upon the purchase of tickets, PUB and minibus operators are required to screen passengers to determine if they are essential workers or are permitted to travel under the GCQ,” reads Executive Order no. 17, which sets the GCQ protocols in Cebu province.
Under EO 17, which Governor Gwendolyn Garcia signed late night on Tuesday, May 19, 2020, movements for “leisure” purposes are still not allowed in the province.
“They shall require passengers to present their company identification cards and other relevant documents to prove that they are essential workers. Persons who are not permitted to travel under the GCQ should not be issued a ticket and allowed to board,” Garcia ordered.
Except for medical emergencies, immunocompromised persons and unemployed individuals below 21 years old are still under a 24-hour curfew.
Before boarding the buses, passengers are also required to undergo checking of temperature and other visible symptoms like cough and colds. A person whose body temperature hits 38 degrees Celsius and above or has cough and colds will not be allowed to travel.
The wearing of masks, for both drivers and passengers, is also required.
As public transport resumes on Wednesday, a restaurant along the Talisay City’s side of the Cebu South Coastal Road serves as the temporary Cebu South Bus Terminal as the buses cannot yet proceed to the CSBT in N. Bacalso Avenue since Cebu City is still under Enhanced Community Quarantine.
Taxis and Transport Network Vehicle Services (TNVS) operating within Cebu province are also required to secure the permit.
Both taxis and TNVS are only allowed to carry two passengers at a time, who shall be seated at the rear of the vehicle to observe physical distancing. TNVS drivers cannot also accept multiple bookings or shared rides during the GCQ.
The Capitol has already warned that the PPUPs of the vehicles may be revoked if they would be found noncompliant with the rules set for their operations.
Component Local government units (LGUs) of Cebu province, on the other hand, may allow the operations of tricycles-for-hire and trisikads within their territorial jurisdictions.
However, these tricycles and trisikads will not be allowed to ply the national highways and may only carry one passenger at a time to comply with the strict physical distancing measures. /bmjo
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