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On second day under GCQ, public transportation still a problem

June 02,2020 - 10:13 PM

Some commuters wait for a ride in one of the bus stops in Baangay Lahug, Cebu City, on Tuesday evening, June 2, 2020. | CDN Digital Photo

CEBU CITY, Philippines—On the second day since Cebu City shifted to general community quarantine (GCQ), public transportation has remained to be a problem for commuters here.

With some establishments allowed to operate under GCQ, workers were expected to be back on the streets to catch a ride to their respective workplaces

But finding a ride proved to be both challenging and frustrating for the working class.

“Unta ibalik na ang transpo o kung pwede na mag Angkas kay lisod kaayo para sa amoa nga walay sakyanan,” said Jessa (not her real name), a 33-year-old hotel staff who lives in Barangay Kamputhaw.

(I hope public transportation will be back to normal or maybe we be allowed to use Angkas because it’s very hard [to find a ride] for us who don’t have cars.)

Jessa was among many who waited for hours for a free bus ride or a public utility vehicle to go home on Tuesday, June 2, 2020.

Jessa said that she she was expecting that there would be public transportation when the city shifted to GCQ on June 1, 2020, especially since their hotel has also allowed them to go home after letting them stay in for the whole quarantine period.

But to Jessa’s disappointment, when she got off late from work on Monday, she ended up walking home as she missed the last bus home and no public vehicle was available after an hour of waiting.

Eduardo Montealto Jr., director of the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board in Central Visayas (LTFRB-7) earlier said limited public transportation would be expected in areas that recently downgraded its quarantine status.

“For our passengers, especially those who are excited to go back to work, we ask you to extend your patience… Our PUVs, we will be deploying them gradually in order to prevent overcrowding,” he told CDN Digital in a separate phone interview.

Read: The two sides of Cebu City’s 1st day under GCQ

This may be understandable for some but for workers like Jessa, it is disappointing, especially since they, too, are still adjusting to a new normal due to the effects of the coronavirus pandemic.

Miko Isidro, a resident of Barangay Calamba, said walking has become normal whenever going in and out of his work as a security guard in one of the establishments in downtown Cebu City.

But the 36-year-old security guard said if he had to choose between walking or experiencing traffic while on a public utility vehicle, he would still choose the latter, given that by doing so, his energy could be conserved.

Help may be coming soon for commuters, though, as Cebu City Mayor Edgardo Labella on Tuesday said he will  be asking the Department of Transportation (DOTr) to allow the resumption of jeepney operations in the city while under GCQ.

Read: Labella to ask DOTr to allow jeepneys to operate under GCQ

Labella admitted the present number of buses in the city still could not suffice for the transportation demand in the city as some businesses have already resumed operations.

During the first day of the GCQ on Monday, June 1, Labella noticed that several workers were stuck in sidewalks waiting for rides to their respective workplaces.

The mayor said the city will also reiterate its appeal to the transportation department to allow motorcycle back riding for immediate family members. /bmjo


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TAGS: Cebu City, commuters, GCQ, problem, public transportation

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